Physical Characteristics

Body erect and somewhat sinuous, with head at a right angle in relation to the trunk and tail. Snout moderately long, with small upturned mouth devoid of teeth. Eyes round. Two pairs of spines present behind the eyes on the head. Small pectoral fins with 14-17 rays; single posterior dorsal fin with 16-20 rays; small anal fin with three to four rays; no pelvic fins. Prehensile tail tapers into a slender stalk without a caudal fin. Trunk encased in 10-12 bony rings, each with four spines; tail has 32-38 rings. Coloration varies widely—background light brown, black, gray, or yellow (sometimes red) with various small blotches, stripes, and spots. Area around the eyes has small white stripes radiating from the eyes. Reaches 7.9 in (20 cm) in length.

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