This is a moderately small species, to about 169 mm SL. It is almost always associated with living coral reefs (Fischer et al. 1990). Juveniles often shelter near black corals and gorgonians, also frequent cave ceilings (Kuiter1992). It feeds mainly on benthic invertebrates such as mollusks and crustaceans. Juveniles regularly remove parasites from other fishes (Kuiter and Tonozuka 2001). Although usually found at depths of 9–30 m, individuals have been taken at 36–49 m at Cocos-Keeling Atoll.