Diagnosis: 13 or fewer (rarely 14) gill-rakers along lower limb of first arch; 37-43 lateral line scales; head length 28.0-34.1% of standard length; predorsal length 36.5-43.2% of standard length; more gradual rise in dorsal spine length from 1st to 6th-7th; pectoral fin relatively short, rarely reaching level of spinous anal fin (Ref. 52346).
Description: moderately deep bodied, greatest body depth at or a little behind dorsal fin origin; predorsal profile rises over snout at an angle of about 45° to the horizontal, decreases abruptly over eyes and rises again slightly less steeply to dorsal fin origin (Ref. 52346, 81260). Resultant concavity in orbital region frequently pronounced; lower jaw slightly oblique, sloping at an angle of about 10° to the horizontal when mouth is closed; lower pharyngeal jaw relatively robust, even in juveniles; lips moderately fleshy and well developed, but not markedly so; inferior vertebral apophysis borne only on third vertebral centrum, which is a large, rather broad wedgeshaped process which extends caudally and slightly underlaps fourth vertebral centrum (Ref. 52346). Outer and inner jaw teeth monocuspid; posterior pharyngeal jaw teeth molariform (Ref. 53405). Stout, crenate rakers along the lower limb of first arch (Ref. 52346, 53784). Stout epibranchial rakers along upper limb of first arch; raker at angle of first arch often forked (Ref. 52346). Micro-gillrakers present (Ref. 53405). 2 series of scales between upper lateral line and anterior part of lower (Ref. 2756, 31256). Scales cycloid (Ref. 53405). 37-43 lateral line scales (Ref. 7378, 52346, 53405). 5.5-6 scales between upper lateral line and dorsal fin origin; 12-14 scales between lower lateral line and anal fin (Ref. 2756). Upper branch of lateral line terminates well in advance of end of soft dorsal fin (Ref. 52346, 81260), usually below 6th-7th ray from free end; terminal canal bearing scales never descend scale rows; dorsal and ventral lateral line branches on caudal fin extend almost to fin periphery; median branch less well developed (sometimes entirely lacking) and usually does not extend much beyond halfway to fin periphery; dorsal fin spines increase gradually in length to 6th-7th and are then more or less equal in length; anal fin rounded (Ref. 52346). Pectorals relatively short, barely reaching level of spinous anal fin (Ref. 52346, 81260), even in largest specimens (Ref. 52346). First branched pelvic ray often produced and filamentous, often reaching to level of soft anal fin (Ref. 52346). Caudal fin emarginate and finely scaled (Ref. 52346, 53784). Caudal fin in juveniles only scaled to fin periphery at its dorsal and ventral margins (Ref. 52346).
Coloration: body yellow-brown; mouth, cheeks, opercles, breast and belly whitish-silvery; many bodyscales with iridescent center (Ref. 52307). In life: silvery with golden longitudinal lines between scale rows; more or less distinct dark cross bars on upper part of sides; pectoral fins, anal and caudal fin yellow; pelvic fins grey; dorsal fin membrane with dark lines forming a light-meshed network; upper margin of dorsal and caudal fins bright red (Ref. 7378, 52346, 53405). Preserved specimens: uniformly light brown, with 7-8 narrow cross bars on flanks extending beyond midline (Ref. 7378, 52346, 53405, 81260). Ethmoidal region dark; opercular blotch diffuse; nape band short; dorsal fin smoky grey with rows of pale maculae; larger males with traces of a few small pale maculae on proximal region of anal fin; caudal fin of male streaked with numerous thin, dark caudal stripes; in juveniles only alternate vertical stripes extend below midline, remainder extend only a little onto dorsum in typical juvenile barring (Ref. 52346).