Common in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed through the Indo-Pacific region, South Africa to Pitcairn Island, north to Japan, south to central New South Wales. In Australia recorded from central Western Australia, across the tropical north to Queensland, south to central New South Wales and including Lord Howe Island.
Frequents sheltered sandy areas from reef flats to seaward reefs, near rubble, rock or coral. Depth from 2 to at least 50 m.
Narrow vertical bar through eye to cheek that may link across the inter orbital space. Large specimens may have obvious orange dot just above the pectoral fin base - visible in top photograph. Feeds on algae, detritus and small benthic invertebrates. Juvenile around 25 mm in lower photograph. Grows to 8 cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.397.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/gnatholepis-cauerensis.html. Accessed 26/05/18.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=gnatholepis+cauerensis. Accessed 26/05/18.