Uncommon in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region: from the Red Sea and Kenya to the Hawaiian Islands, Fanning Islands and Samoa, north to southern Japan, south to Australia. No records from New Zealand. In Australia recorded from central New South Wales (Seal Rocks), the Great Barrier Reef and North West Shelf in Western Australia.
Frequents areas of sandy or rubble substrate, usually outer reef slopes and lagoons. Depth range from 5 to at least 65 m.
Bluish head, with broad black stripe that extends onto tail. White patch at rear of tail. Usually seen swimming high above the substrate where it alternately swims and hovers while searching for prey items. Usually will swim away when approached closely instead of retreating to its burrow. May be seen singly or in pairs, adults forming monogamous pairs. Adult in top photograph, small juvenile (10 cm) in bottom photograph. Grows to 45 cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.135.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Malacanthus+latovittatus. Accessed 06/06/06.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Malacanthus-latovittatus.html. Accessed 06/06/06.