Uncommon in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Known from the Indo-Pacific region: East Africa to the Hawaiian Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Australia and the Rapa Islands. In Australia recorded from Shark Bay, Exmouth and the North West Shelf of Western Australia, northern Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Frequents coral areas in lagoons and seaward reefs, on heads of small branching coral, eg Stylophora, Pocillopora and Acropora. Depth to at least 91 m, usually 1 - 33 m.
Two coloured phases - one light grey to orange brown, the other dark brown, both usually have pale stripe from mid body to tail. Both phases have elongated ring of orange, blue and red extending from eye and three orange bands on light blue area of interopercle. Often solitary, they feed mainly on small fishes, shrimps, crabs and other crustaceans. Grows to 20 cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.236.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au//search?q=paracirrhites+arcatus. Accessed 22/06/18.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Paracirrhites-arcatus.html. Accessed 22/06/18.