Heteropriacanthus cruentatus (Lacepede, 1801)
Common in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout tropical seas world wide. In Australia recorded from Geraldton in Western Australia, across the tropical north, south through Queensland to southern New South Wales and including Lord Howe Island.
Frequents lagoons and reefs, tending to secrete themselves in daylight hours, usually under reef or in recesses, shadows etc. Found in shallower depths ranging to 20m.
Seen singly or in small aggregations. Only occasionally seen in open during the day. Juveniles feed on zooplankton in the water column, adults taking octopi, shrimps, crabs and small fish. Convex tail margin with spots on the tail help to distinguish from similar Priacanthus hamrur which has more lunate tail fin and black spot at base of pelvic fin. Grows to 32cm.