Abundant in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Ranges throughout the tropical and cool temperate zones of the West Pacific. In Australia recorded from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria, also north-east New Zealand.
Adults frequent rocky reefs and headlands to 30 m in depth, juveniles may be found in coastal waters and estuaries in algal habitat. Feeds on worms and small invertebrates.
Brown upper body and white belly, strongly tapering towards tail. Deeply forked tail has white band with brown rear margin. Congregates in small to large aggregations. Often found resting in unusual positions on substrate, commonly lying sideways or hanging head down at 'cleaning stations'. Small juvenile 25 mm in length shown in bottom photograph. Grows to 65 cm.
Kuiter, R. H., Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Published by Crawford House Press Pty. Ltd., 1993. p.258.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. http://fishbase.ca/summary/Cheilodactylus-fuscus.html. Accessed 11/05/18.