Hawkfishes spend a majority of their time among rocks or coral branches. They are small to medium sized predators. Hawkfishes are not strong swimmers, but they can quickly and vigorously pursue their prey for short distances. Their pectoral fins are enlarged and thick, which assist in holding them in place. This fish family is characterized by interesting tufts of filaments that extend from the ends of their dorsal spines. The male hawkfish have harems. There are 6 species of hawkfish found in Hawai'i. The Hawaiian name means "coral clinging."
The front half of this hawkfish is brown and densely spotted in reddish black. The bottom half has a very wide black band edged in white. Juveniles are divided lengthwise in half black and half white. Very small hawkfish resemble and act like juvenile Saddle Wrasses. The species is names are the Forsters, who are a father-and-son naturalists. They travelled with Captain Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific and Indian oceans between 1772 and 1775. They grow up to 9 inches. .