Rounded body, six dark bands down the sides including one at the base of the tail, and a yellowish tint to the dorsal fins and upper body. Juvenile moonlighter are easily mistaken for butterflyfishes because they have similar fin arrangement, a pointed snout, and large black spots near the rear of the body on the dorsal and anal fins. Adult moonlighter are generally seen on coastal reefs in pairs. Juveniles occur in shallow water as individuals, where they move about picking at prey.
Max Size: 40 cm
Sea Temperature Range: 12-22.7°C
Depth: 1-120 m
Habitat Generalization Index: 12.1
Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.
Conservation and Rarity
IUCN Status: Not Evaluated
Occurrence: Common (46.1% of sites)
Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed
Abundance: Few (2 per transect)
Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.
Edit by: GJ Edgar. 2008. Australian Marine Life. New Holland, Sydney