The American whitespotted filefish typically has a brown or olive colored body, although it may also be grey. These fish can rapidly change appearance to a high contrast color pattern with a much darker background and many light colored spots. With a maximum length of around 18 inches, they are smaller than the scrawled filefish which is also found in their range. The American whitespotted filefish is often seen in pairs.
Inhabits coral reefs or rocky bottoms (Ref. 5217). Found among gorgonians. Occurs in pairs (Ref. 5521). Feeds mainly on sponges, gorgonians, and algae (Ref. 9710) but also eats hydroids and stinging coral.