Western Pacific: Philippines and Ryukyu Islands to the Gilbert Islands, New Caledonia, and Samoa, north to Izu Islands, south to Rowley Shoals and Lord Howe Island; throughout Micronesia. Subspecies Plagiotremus laudandus flavus occurs in Fiji and Tonga.
Inhabit lagoon and seaward reefs from below the surge zone to 30 m depth.
Feed on skin, scales, fins and mucus of other fish. Oviparous.
Eggs are demersal and adhesive.
A mimic of Meiacanthus atrodorsalis