soft rays: 11 - 12;
Vertebrae: 25. Young green when in seagrasses and greenish brown on reefs. Recognized by the unusual color patterns on the cheek or the black spotted scales over the back (Ref. 48636). Preserved male specimens with pale spots on scales; dark spot behind eye (continuous with a bifurcating dark band which extends ventrally); another on opercle; a dark band on snout from upper lip to eye; head with bands; spot on upper caudal base may be present or absent (present in females). Anterior lateral line scales with 1-3 pores (usually 2); 5-6 suborbital pores. Anterior dorsal and anal soft rays longer than posterior rays; pelvic fins of males relatively short, not reaching anus.