Eastern Pacific: Monterey Bay in California, USA to Guadalupe Island (off northern central Baja California) and Gulf of California.
Prefer rocky bottom, particularly in kelp beds.
Male and female have different color patterns and body shapes.
Males are larger, with black tail and head sections, wide, reddish orange midboddy and red eyes.
Female are dull pink with white undersides. Both sexes sport white chins and large, protruding canine teeth that can pry hard-shelled animals from rocks.
After powerful jaws and sharp teeth crush the prey, modified throat bones grind the shells into small pieces.
They hunt actively during the day, but at night, as many wrasses do, they move to crevices and caves and wrap themselves in a mucus cocoon. Predators on the hunt can’t detect the fishes’ scent through the mucus covers.