Diagnosis: 10 or fewer rakers on lower limb of first arch; unpaired fins not predominantly red-brown; mouth terminal; 29-30 lateral line scales; outer row teeth robust; dorsal fin with 14-15 spines and 11-12 soft rays (total rays 26-27); anal fin with 3 spines and 8-9 soft rays; caudal fin weakly covered with scales; vertical stripes strongly pronounced, only slightly enlarged on flanks; a black spot at base of each scale; clear spots on occiput and opercle; belly whitish (Ref. 81260).
Description: relatively deep-bodied; head profile slightly rounded (Ref. 52307). Lower pharyngeal jaw with pointed, curved anterior teeth and tricuspid posterior teeth; ventral keel shorter than dentigerous plate; 3-6 rows of teeth in oral jaws, teeth in outer rows bicuspid (Ref. 81260).
Coloration: base body color creamy, becoming grey-brown dorsally, blackish-grey on dorsum of the head, and completely white on throat, chest and belly; 3-5 dark bars on flanks, particularly visible at mid-body level; flank scales with dark basal spot; upper lip dark, lower lip white; behind the eye, on upper part of opercle and occiput, numerous large white spots with a silvery tinge; along dorsum, posterior border of scales often silvery white; spinous dorsal fin uniformly dark grey, darker distally; soft dorsal dark with some clear maculae, "tilapia spot" present but not ocellated; caudal fin dark with pale streaks; anal fin uniformly dark; pelvics dusky but with white leading edge (Ref. 81260).