Inhabit lagoons, subtidal reef flats and outer reef slopes (where it occurs to depths of over 20 m). Often in lives in pairs in empty worm tubes or narrow holes. Mimic the cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus
and nip fins, skin and scales of other fishes (Ref. 9710). It even copies the motion of the cleaner wrasse that may induce other fish to come close, but it targets their scales or mucus for a feed, biting and quickly retreating to the corals before the victim realizes that it was tricked; experienced fish recognize imposters and often give it a chase (Ref. 48636). Also feed on tubeworms and demersal fish eggs. Oviparous (Ref. 205). Eggs are demersal and adhesive (Ref. 205).