Diagnosis: head and body dark reddish brown or greyish dorsally, usually yellowish gold ventrally; irregular white, pale greenish yellow or silvery grey blotches usually visible on the body and head and mostly arranged in vertical series; more or less distinct black maxillary streak; dark brown median fins; distal edge of anal and caudal fins, often also pectoral fins, narrowly white; pelvic fins blackish distally; pectoral fins dark reddish brown or grey; margin of spinous dorsal fin and basal part of the paired fins often golden yellow; head length 2.3-2.5 in SL; convex interorbital area; rounded preopercle, finely serrate, serrae at angle slightly enlarged; smooth subopercle and interopercle; eye diameter greater than or subequal to interorbital width in fish 10-30 cm SL, less than interorbital in fish over 40 cm SL; posterior and anterior nostrils subequal or posterior nostril slightly larger; maxilla naked, reaching to or slightly past vertical at rear edge of eye; 2-4 rows of subequal teeth on midlateral part of lower jaw (Ref. 89707).
Description: body robust, its depth comprised 2.6-3.1 times in standard length; lower jaw slightly prominent; teeth of inner row depressible in both jaws; pelvic fins not reaching anus; caudal fin rounded in juveniles, truncated with rounded angles in adults; scales small, broadly imbricate, embedded in thick skin (Ref. 57293).
Coloration: brown, back sometimes dark grey to reddish, belly yellowish; body and head with an irregular pattern of white spots sometimes forming diffuse vertical bars; fins dark; caudal, anal and sometimes pectoral with a tiny white edge; dorsal with a yellow-golden edge; base of pair fins often yellow-golden (Ref. 57293).