Common in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region: Red Sea to Panama and Columbia, north to southerrn Japan and Hawaii, south to Lord Howe and the Austral Islands. In Australia recorded from the North West Shelf region of Western Australia, from northern Queensland south to Montague Island in southern New South Wales.
Frequents barren open areas, often in pairs over rocks or sandy areas adjacent to reefs. Depth to 50 m.
Pale body sometimes with faint bars, tail has two black stripes with white in between. Often seen hovering stationary in the water column, darting into a sand burrow under cover of rock or reef when approached too closely. Feeds on sand dwelling invertebrates. Grows to 32 cms.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.134.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Malacanthus+brevirostris. Accessed 06/06/18.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Malacanthus-brevirostris.html. Accessed 06/06/18.