Abundant in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region: from South Africa to the Line, Marquesas and Tuamoto Islands, north to southern Japan, south to the Great Barrier Reef. In Australia recorded from Western Australia and the northern offshore reefs, the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef in Queensland south to central New South Wales and including Lord Howe Island.
Frequents rocky and coral reef areas especially adjacent to sandy gutters. Juveniles under ledges and more secretive. Depth range from 1 to 30 m.
Small yellow blotch on back below front of dorsal fin, large adults with bright blue band through midsection. Small juveniles mainly black with broad white bands. Feeds on sand-dwelling crustaceans, molluscs, polychaete worms and small fishes. Immature adult pictured at top, intermediate phase middle with small juvenile (25 mm) in bottom photograph. Grows to 27 cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.311.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Halichoeres+hortulanus. Accessed 30/05/18.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Halichoeres-hortulanus.html. Accessed 30/05/18.