Group incidence and size are described for recruit parrotfishes, wrasses, and damselfishes on Hawaiian reefs over 3 years (2006–2008) at sites spanning the archipelago (20–28°N, 155–177°W). Coral-poor and coral-rich areas were surveyed at sites with both low (Hawaii Island) and high (Midway Atoll) predator densities, facilitating examination of relations among predator and recruit densities, habitat, and group metrics. Predator and recruit densities varied spatially and temporally, with a sixfold range in total recruit densities among years. Group (≥2 recruits) metrics varied with time and tracked predator and recruit densities and the proportion of schooling species. Groups often included heterospecifics whose proportion increased with group size. A non-saturating relationship between group size and recruit density suggests that the anti-predator benefits of aggregation exceeded competitive costs. Grouping behavior may have overarching importance for recruit survival—even at high recruit densities—and merits further study on Hawaiian reefs and elsewhere.