Dorsal spines (total): -7; Dorsal soft rays (total): -9; Anal spines: -1; Anal soft rays: -8; Vertebrae: -27. Diagnosis: preoperculum without a spine; mental fraenum indistinct, covered by sensory papillae; mouth large; reaching to below a point between anterior pupil and mideye; jaws forming an angle of 30-35° with body axis; upper margin of upper jaw in line with mideye; cheeks tapering; interorbital narrow, much less than eye; predorsal area scaled forward to eyes; cheek naked; operculum patch of scales dorsally; pectoral base covered by small scales; prepelvic area largely covered with embedded scales, sometimes with thin naked area anteriorly; belly fully scaled; 1st dorsal fin with spines 2-6 extending beyond other spines when fin depressed; 1st dorsal fin without black spot posteriorly; pelvic fin thin and oval, much longer than wide; reaching just short of anus; 2nd dorsal rays I,9; anal rays I,8; pectoral rays usually 19; longitudinal scale count 31-35; predorsal scale count 23-31; transverse scale count (TRB) 11.5-12.5; gill rakers on outer face of 1st arch 1+1+6-9; lower gill rakers on outer face of 2nd arch 8-9; branched caudal rays 13-14, usually 14; vertebrae 11+16=27(4*); papillae: line 1 (before nasal pore) composed of 2 rows of papillae posteriorly, 1 anteriorly; line 2 (between nasal pores) composed of single row of papillae, continuous across snout; line 5 (suborbital) composed of single row of papillae joining line 7 below anterior margin of eye; line 6 (suborbital branch) absent; lines 7, 9, 10 (LL cheek rows) each composed of single row of papillae, reaching to posterior end of preoperculum; line 8 and 11 (LT row) reaching to near end of preoperculum; line 12 (Outer POP-mandibular) composed of single row of papillae, with an arch at posterior end of jaws and continuous with papillae line posteriorly; line 13 (Inner POP-mandibular) composed of 2 or 3 rows of papillae; line 20 (opercular VT) composed of single row of papillae, with multiple branches ventrally; line 21 (Upper opercular OT) composed of single row of papillae, line gently curved; line 22 (Lower opercular OT) short and composed of single row of papillae, with several ventral branches; several vertical papillae rows on belly; a single curved line anteriorly on most body scales (often obscure dorsally and posteriorly) (Ref. 103536).
Description: based on 31 specimens 34-144 mm SL; 1st dorsal spines 6(24*); gill rakers on outer face of 1st arch 1+6(1), 1+1+7(6), 1+1+8(5), 1+1+9(3); segmented caudal rays 9/8(16*); vertebrae 11+16(4); branched caudal rays 6/6(4), 7/6(3), 7/7(15*), 8/7(1); counts of other meristic characters given in Tables 1-5; head depressed, length 33.2-36.9% SL, width 16.8-18.3% SL, depth 14.7-16.4% SL; snout long pointed in dorsal view, concave, with notch before eye in side view; 9.8-12.4-% SL; eye about 1.2-2.4 in snout, 7-8.3% SL in specimens less than 100 mm SL and 4.9-7.1% SL in specimens over 100 mm SL; small bump below anterior nostril absent; anterior nostril at end of short tube, 1-2 nostril diameters above upper lip; posterior nostril a large
pore, from eye and 1-2 anterior nostril diameters from anterior nostril and midway between upper lip and eye (young) to slightly closer to upper lip than eye (adult); preoperculum long, distance from end of eye to upper posterior preopercular margin less than snout length; postorbital very long, subequal to distance from tip of snout to posterior end of eye; gill opening reaching to a point midway between posterior margin of eye and posterior preopercular margin; teeth in upper jaw: outer row of teeth conical, slightly enlarged and wideset with smaller teeth in between larger teeth, 3-4 inner rows of smaller depressible, inwardly directed teeth, innermost row larger than middle rows; teeth in lower jaw: teeth in outer row conical, slightly enlarged and wide-set anteriorly, 3-4 inner rows of smaller depressible teeth, teeth in innermost row larger than teeth in middle rows; tongue tip bilobed; gill rakers on outer face of 1st arch long and slender, 1/3 to 1/4 filament length; rakers on inner face of 1st arch and other arches short and denticulate; body covered mostly with large ctenoid scales, cycloid on midpredorsal region, pectoral base, prepelvic area, operculum and belly; 1st dorsal fin triangular shaped, origin well behind pelvic insertion; 2nd dorsal fin subequal to 1st dorsal fin in height; anal fin slightly lower than dorsal fins; pectoral fin with rounded margin, reaching to above anus; pelvic disc thin, much longer than wide, reaching just short of anus; 5th ray with 8-14 terminal tips; head pores; nasal pore directly above posterior nostril, rarely with extra pore adjacent to nasal pore (often on 1 side only); anterior interorbital pore present posterior interorbital pore present (single or paired); a single postorbital pore behind eye; infraorbital pore below postorbital present; lateral canal pore above preoperculum present; lateral canal pore above posterior preopercular margin absent; terminal lateral canal pore above operculum present; short tube above operculum, with pore at each end present; 3 preopercular pores, upper in line with lower margin of pupil; middle pore midway between other pores (Ref. 103536).
Coloration in alcohol: head and body dark brown, ventral surfaces light brown; a dark brown bar from anteroventral margin of eye to middle of upper jaw; posterior end of jaws light brown; a small brown spot behind eye; a short dark brown oblique bar from posteroventral margin of eye extending across cheek about half way to posterior preopercular margin; operculum with a large brown blotch anteriorly; a large brown spot (slightly larger than eye length behind upper pectoral base; a series of very large (greater than half body depth) elliptical dark brown spots on midside; 1st spot below 1st dorsal origin, 2nd spot below 2nd dorsal origin, 3rd spot below posterior end of 2nd dorsal fin, 4th on middle of caudal peduncle; small spot at end of caudal peduncle, continuous with large spot on bases of fin rays; back with large brown blotches and saddles, between and dorsal to midside spots; leading edge of 1st 3 dorsal spines brown; 2nd dorsal fin with small brown spots forming rows; anal, pectoral and pelvic fins clear, without distinct spots; caudal with small black spots forming wavy bands on upper 4/5 of fin, lower 5th of fin grey (Ref. 103536). Coloration in life: head and body tan to light brown with dark brown to blackish markings as described above for preserved specimens; leading edge of both dorsal fins yellow; 2nd dorsal fin with small brown spots forming rows; anal, pectoral and pelvic fins clear, without distinct spots; caudal with small black spots forming 5-6 wavy, most vivid on middle portion of fin (Ref. 103536).