soft rays: 14 - 18;
Vertebrae: 24. Sides of body heavily marked with well-defined cream spots on dark background, extending onto head, cheeks and median fins; larger spots frequently ocellated; belly with articulated pattern, cream stripe on nape; dark band running laterally from lips to eye and continuing posteriorly to blend into background anterior to dorsal fin. Body and head, excluding lips and maxillary, with embedded scales. Dorsal spines 2 (rarely 3). Lower jaw not much projecting, lacking fleshy protuberance. Juvenile and adult with 4 large, distinct oval pores along preopercular margin and 4 pairs on ventral surface of lower jaw, except in > 6.5 cm SL specimens, most posterior pair may be divided into a few smaller pores (Ref. 40934).