Prefers coral reefs and clear water. In the Gulf of Mexico, it occurs in clear deep reefs (at least 45 m). At Bermuda and the West Indies, the species is common in shallow water, but it usually hides in caves or under ledges during the day. The species is protogynous with females maturing at 16 cm TL and transforming to males at about 20 cm. Males are territorial. Feeds mainly on small fishes and crustaceans. May follow morays and snake eels to feed on flushed preys. Wary, but approachable (Ref. 9710).