soft rays: 16 - 18;
Vertebrae: 24. Sides of body, excluding cheeks, mottled with cream to pale-brown blotches on dark background, reaching onto bases of median fins; blotches are poorly-defined and often coalescing. Body and head, excluding lips and maxillary, with embedded scales. Dorsal spines 3 (rarely 2). Lower jaw projecting, with prominent fleshy protuberance. Numerous, small pores, in patches, along ventral surface of lower jaw and on the free-edge of preopercle in > 6.5 cm SL specimens (Ref. 40934).