Western Atlantic: Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, Caribbean (mainly insular localities), and Brazil.
Found mainly on rocky or coral bottoms from the shoreline to at least 55 m depth; small and middle-sized individuals commonly occur in mangrove-lined lagoons.
Feeds on fishes. Sex-reversal observed.
More common in island waters than along the coast.
The tricolored pattern of the juveniles mimics that of the juveniles of the clown wrasse, Halichoeres maculipinna.
The aggressive mimic’s behavior includes folding down the median and caudal fins, which adds to its wrasse imitation and allows it to approach its otherwise wary prey.
Marketed fresh; flesh is of good quality.