Rare in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-West Pacific region: East Africa and Red Sea to southeastern Oceania and Hawaiian Islands, north to Japan, south to Australia. In Australia recorded from Exmouth and the North West Shelf region of Western Australia, the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef in Queensland south to northern New South Wales.
Frequents sand and rubble areas adjacent to coral reefs. Depth to 100 m, usually 5 - 30 m.
Juveniles, as pictured here, have three to four white bars across black dorsal surface, dark bar through eye and yellow tail. Adults are bluish-gray fading to white on belly, lips are yellow to pinkish. Has the ability to quickly change colouration according to threat or habitat. Black bars fade rapidly when over sandy habitat and resumes when fish is amongst coral. May be seen solitary or in small groups. Nocturnal feeders, prey on gastropods, brittle stars, crabs, and polychaetes. Grows to 60 cm.
John E. Randall, Gerald R. Allen, Roger C. Steene, Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, 2nd Edition, 1997. Published by Crawford House Publishing Pty Ltd. p.204.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.183.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Monotaxis+grandoculis. Accessed 08/06/18.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Monotaxis-grandoculis.html. Accessed 08/06/18.