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Paracirrhites arcatus grows to a maximum size of 20 cm in length, and occurs in a variety of colors. The body may be greenish-brown, dark brown or reddish-orange, while the tail usually is bluish. A broad, longitudinal white band runs along the distal half of the body. A characteristic ring-shaped or U-shaped tricolor marking (red, blue and yellow) occurs around and behind the eyes. The dorsal fin has ten spines and eleven soft rays, and the anal fin has three spines and six soft rays. These voracious predators are very territorial. They spend most of their time perched on corals, especially Acropora, Stylophora, and Pocillopora genera, waiting for prey to approach too close. They mostly feed on small fishes, shrimps, and crabs but also eat isopods, fish eggs and larvae. These fish occasionally find their way into the aquarium trade.
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