Five-finger is found in oceanic islands and seamounts in the south Atlantic and south Indian Oceans, at depths between 1.5 - 200m. Found in kelp, rocky and sandy bottoms. Predominantly found over areas covered in algae, in shallow waters. Around Tristan da Cunha, it is commonly seen in large shoals in the kelp forest. Tagging studies showed that adults are territorial, found resting in caves and crevices, while juveniles are usually found in groups swimming about 2m above the bottom. It is a carnivorous fish mainly feeding on shrimp and small fish, while juveniles are known for eating red and green algae.
Although it is the most common fish caught for food and bait, Tristanians can only catch fishes bigger than 25cm. This is to make sure the five-finger population stays healthy.