Inhabits coral reefs, inshore grassy or rocky areas. Forms small groups (Ref. 26235). Mainly diurnal. Feeds entirely on algae (Ref. 5521). At Fernando de Noronha Archipelago in southwestern Atlantic, juveniles hold cleaning stations together with the doctorfish (Acanthurus chirurgus) and sergeant major (Abudefduf saxatilis) and graze algae as well as pick molted skin and parasites from green turtles (Chelonia mydas). This behavior is preceded by a characteristic inspection usually followed by feeding nips on the turtles skin (head, limbs, and tail), as well as on the carapace. The most inspected and cleaned body parts are the flippers (Ref. 51385). The spine on both sides of the caudal peduncle may inflict painful wounds (Ref. 5217). Marketed fresh.
- Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray 1986 A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 354 p. (Ref. 7251) http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=7251&speccode=942