soft rays: 14 - 16;
Vertebrae: 28 - 30. This species is distinguished by the following characters: elongate supramaxilla and posterior end of maxilla produced as a thin flexible lamina, varying from moderate to well-developed; usually a single black stripe (well-developed in fish with elongate jaws but only slightly in those with relatively short jaws) at the inner lining of upper jaw and adjacent membranes; lateral-line ends below verticals between segmented dorsal-fin rays 3-6 (typically fourth or fifth); body with about 68-83 oblique scale rows; caudal vertebrae 19-20 (rarely 20), except only 18 in fish from northern Palawan. There are several color morphs that exist (geographic variations) (Ref. 81517).