Common throughout the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Southwest Pacific, including Kermadec Islands and New Zealand. In Australia recorded from north Queensland south to eastern Victoria, and including Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands.
Frequents rocky estuaries and shoreline to deep offshore reefs and caves. Small juveniles have been captured on baited underwater remote video cameras in rock pools on the New South Wales and Lord Howe Island coastlines.
Protected species in New South Wales. Colouration may vary, dark to black in estuaries, banded in clear water. Pattern can change quickly according to background. Black blotch on dorsal surface of caudal peduncle helps in identification of species. Smaller specimens may be approached by divers but large specimens tend to be shy. Juvenile approximately 20 cm long in bottom photograph. Note distinctive black spot on dorsal surface of caudal peduncle. Grows to 1.2 m.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.93.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Epinephelus-daemelii.html. Accessed 25/05/18.