Variable from shades of blue/green to red, bright yellow tail, yellow bar on the mid-body and neon-blue speckling on the rear body and tail base. Subadults are greener on the forebody and have a reddish head with green markings, with slightly more blue speckling. Juveniles stand out by their bright orange color and white blotches along the head and back with black outlines. They live solitary.
Least concern status according to the IUCN Red list. The species is widespread along tropical waters, no specific threats are known and the global population seems stable, although little information is known about their proliferation.
They can be found from Indonesia to Micronesia and the Hawaiian Islands, French Polynesia, South Japan to Australia. They prefer sand and rubble bottoms close to coral rich patches of reef in a depth range of 3-50 meters.
The yellowtail coris are spawners. Cued by moon tides and water temperature they spawn in short bursts close to the bottom.
Up to 38cm.
The feed mainly on mollusks, (hermit) crabs, and occasionally on tunicates and forams.
They are also known by other common names such als clown coris or african clown coris. There are reports of it causing ciguatera poisoning.