Dorsal spines (total): 18-19; Dorsal soft rays (total): 11-12; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 10-11; Vertebrae: 34-36. Diagnosis: more elongated, more slender and somewhat more depressed than Gobiocichla wonderi (Ref. 52307), with a shallower caudal peduncle and smaller eyes (Ref. 53766). Scales reduced; dorsal fin never with "tilapiine" spot (Ref. 53784, Ref. 53766, Ref. 31256, Ref. 7378). Upper jaw relatively non-protrusible; groove between upper jaw and snout greatly reduced, insignificant or absent near snout-tip; mouth slightly narrower and more subterminal; snout tip visible from below; body horizontally oval in cross-section; 18-19 dorsal fin spines and 11-12 soft rays; 3 anal fin spines and 10-11 branched rays (Ref. 53766).
Description: body depressed, extremely elongate (depth 12.0-17.0% SL); head length 23.0-27.0% SL (Ref. 81260). Mouth small, inferior, with an outer row of closely spaced, subequally cusped bicuspid teeth in both jaws, 1-2 rows of smaller tricuspid inner teeth (Ref. 81260). Posterior teeth on pharyngeal bone monocuspid (Ref. 53405). Caudal peduncle short and deep; up to 20 irregular and vestigial circumpeduncular scales (Ref. 81260). Squamation greatly reduced, normal sized scales only present along lateral line (non-imbricating) (Ref. 81260), in a small region below the pectoral fin base and on the posterior fourth of the body (Ref. 7378, 53405, 53766, 81260). A single scale in the axil of the pectoral fin is substantially larger than any other scales, and the scales immediately posterior to this large scale progressively decrease in size and change from weakly ctenoid to cycloid; base of caudal fin with 5-6 rows of small scales; gill-rakers simple and moderately elongate (Ref. 53766). Microbranchiospines absent (Ref. 53766, 81260). Rakers small and vestigial, 2-4 on lower limb of the first gill arch; pelvic fins short and rounded; caudal fin rounded and scaled basally (Ref. 81260). Lower pharyngeal bone a relatively light construction; basicranial pharyngeal apophysis appears to be a reduced Tilapia-type; gut a tube of nearly uniform diameter; stomach virtually absent (Ref. 53766).
Coloration: in life: body greenish or dark olivaceous; underside of body light grey or whitish (Ref. 7378, 53405, 81260). Well marked opercular spot (Ref. 81260). Mediolateral band runs from the snout to the anterior part of the caudal fin (Ref. 7378, 52307, 53784). Dorsolateral band, often poorly visible, may be present on the anterior part of the body; 7 vertical bands present, the first on the neck, the last on the caudal peduncle (Ref. 7378, 53405, 53766). A midlateral stripe on the head runs immediately over or directly through the eye (Ref. 52307). Dorsal surface of eyeball and adjacent portion of orbital rim with a poorly defined dark blotch or dense cluster of melanophores (Ref. 53766). Dorsal fin dul greyish or olivaceous, without brilliant colors, but sometimes with a light area (sometimes yellowish-red) on posterior part of distal margin, which continues on the upper part of the caudal fin; caudal fin yellowish-brown; anal fin yellowish-brown or olivaceous, darker distally; pectoral fins yellowish or light green; pelvic fins hyaline or brown-yellow; body sometimes uniformly brown-yellow, olivaceous, dark grey or slate-coloured (Ref. 7378, 31256, 53405, 53766). Distal margin of soft dorsal fin and upper part of caudal fin bright red, bordered by a yellowish or light submarginal band and sometimes even showing some light or yellow spots (Ref. 7378, 31256, 53405, 53766, 81260). Never with "tilapiine" spot (Ref. 7378, 31256, 53405, 53766, 81260). Several dark horizontal bars in juveniles and extremely stressed individuals (Ref. 52307).