This is the most widely distributed of all butterflyfishes (Range size ~106 million km2) from values estimated by Jones et al. (2002) based on projections of distribution maps from Allen et al. (1998). It occurs throughout the Indo-Pacific from central Red Sea to Durban, South Africa to the west coast of central and northern South America north to southern Japan and the Hawaiian islands, south to central New South Wales, Lord Howe, Rapa and Easter Islands, including virtually all intervening tropical islands. It is absent from the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea north of northern Yemen and the Laccadive Islands (India). It has been recorded at depths of 2-145 m.