Uncommon to rare in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region: from East Africa to the Hawaiian, Marquesan and Ducie Islands, north to southern Japan, south to the southern Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, New Caledonia and Rapa Islands. In Australia recorded from Exmouth in Western Australia north through Ashmore and Rowley Shoals, the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef in Queensland south to northern New South Wales.
Frequents clear water inner and outer reefs from algal flats to deep dropoffs, seaward reefs below the surge zone. Depth 3 - 90 m.
Yellow or brownish scythe shaped marks on the cheek, and white line from rear of mouth to start of anal fin. Benthopelagic, it feeds on algae, benthic invertebrates including echinoderms, crabs, bivalves and tunicates. Similar S. chrysopterum mature male has only a single yellow stripe on the cheek, is blue on the belly and has an enclosed yellowish "flag" on the tail. Grows to 25 cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.449.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=sufflamen+bursa. Accessed 10/07/18.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Sufflamen-bursa.html. Accessed 10/07/18.