Abundant throughout the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the warm temperate and cool temperate waters of the western Pacific region, including Kermadec Islands and New Zealand. In Australia recorded from around Cape Byron in northern New South Wales south to Cape Everard in Victoria. Also reported spreading southwards to Tasmania where it is found on the east coast.
Frequents a variety of habitats ranging from shallow reef and shoreline to deep rocky reef areas to a depth of at least 30 m. Herbivorous, feeding on algal turf and algal detritus caught amongst the spines.
Generally occurs in large numbers and can alter community structure by removing kelps and other large macro algae from the substrate, leaving barren areas in their wake. Is sometimes fished commercially for its roe. Grows to 100 mm test diameter with spine length of 90 mm.
Graham J. Edgar. Australian Marine Life, 2nd Edition, 2008. Reed New Holland Publishers. p.414.