Aulostomus chinensis (Linnaeus, 1766)
Common throughout the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Widespread throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific. In Australia recorded from Exmouth in Western Australia, across the tropical north to Queensland, south to Sydney in NSW and including Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands.
Frequents coastal and outer reefs, from shallow areas to 'dropoffs'.
Juveniles live amongst seagrass and soft corals. Adults are ambush predators and shadow larger fish closely looking for prey. Colouration varies considerably and they appear to be able to change colouration quickly. A yellow (or xanthic) colouration is common in some areas, see second photograph, juvenile approximately 90mm in length in third photograph. Usually seen singly, occasionally loosely in pairs. Grows to 60cm with anecdotal recordings of 90cm.