The flame angel is found in clear lagoon and seaward reefs from the lower surge zone to a depth of 197 feet (60 meters). It is secretive and stays near shelter. It feeds on algae and forms harems of 3 to 7 individuals. Coloration is bright orange-red with a vertical elongate black blotch and 4 or 5 bars on the sides, the posterior part of the dorsal and anal fins with alternating short purple-blue and black bands. Specimens from the Marquesas lack the vertical black bars.