Physical Characteristics

Snout very slender but not very elongated (longer in males), ending in a spatulate tip; snout clearly demarcated from head and bearing four spiny ridges. Eyes large and round. Mouth small and protrusible, located ventral to the snout base. Head triangular anteriorly. Head and trunk regions are depressed and broad (broader in females), encased in fused bony plates that bear prominent ridges forming a star pattern. Single dorsal fin posterior to the trunk, with five rays; opposite anal fin also has five rays. Tail long and slender, with bony ridges, ending in a truncate caudal fin with eight to nine rays. Pectoral fins very wide and fanlike when expanded, with 18 rays. Pelvics resemble hooks, with one spine and three rays. Coloration sandy-brown or grayish above, with darker spots on pectorals, a dark longitudinal stripe on the trunk, and a dark stripe at base of the tail; pale underneath. Reaches about 4.7 in (12 cm) in length.

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