A morphologically remarkable fish. Body is very slender and straight, and head is very elongate, about one-third the total length. Mouth terminal, small, and upturned. Eyes round. First dorsal fin situated over pelvic fins, with five very long spines; second dorsal fin more posterior, with 17-23 rays. Anal fin opposite second dorsal, with 17-22 rays; pectoral fins inconspicuous, with 24 rays; pelvic fins located just anterior to the middle of the body, with seven rays; caudal fin large and spur-shaped when rays are extended. There are numerous dermal projections on snout, trunk, and tail. Body encased in 31-35 segmented bony plates. Coloration spectacular and ornate. Background color varies from white or semitransparent to black, with elaborate pattern of red, orange, white, or yellow spots, blotches, and stripes. Reaches some 4.7 in (12 cm).
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