Uncommon in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Known from Lord Howe Is, where it is common, northern New Zealand and the east coast of Australia, from southern Queensland at least as far south as Broughton Island. Also recorded from areas towards Easter Island.
Frequents rocky reef areas, both inshore and offshore, to depths of at least 30m. Juveniles often in small aggregations, sometimes with other wrasse species, in algal areas in coastal bays and harbours.
Males recognisable by the yellow tail, green to yellow back with lighter underside. Males also have large yellow blotch on upper operculum. Females and juveniles tend to be dull green colour but still with darker green back and silvery underside and with yellow anal fin. Adults usually solitary, constantly moving across the substrate, feeding on a variety of invertebrates. There is distinct pairing during breeding. Males are territorial, females may form large groups. Adult male shown here. Grows to 30 cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.285.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. http://www.fishbase.se/summary/Anampses-elegans.html. Accessed 16/04/18.