Body is deep and compressed, with a deeply notched dorsal fin, a pronounced forehead, and a nonprotrusible mouth. There
are 10-11 spines and 16-18 soft rays in the dorsal fin, four spines and 13-15 soft rays in the anal fin, and 16 branched rays in the caudal fin. The spines are sharp and are reported to be venomous. The pelvic fins are attached by an axillary process. Body color is silvery green to orange, with numerous small dark spots on the flank and on the base of the dorsal, caudal, and anal fins. Larvae have a specialized stage similar to the tholichthys of larval butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae). Grows to about 15 in (38 cm) in length.
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