Common amongst Labrisomids: small, often elongate fishes; largest species about 20 cm standard length, most under 10 cm standard length. Head usually with cirri or fleshy flaps on anterior nostrils, eyes, and laterally on nape; gill membranes continuous with each other across posteroventral surface of head. Each jaw with an outer row of relatively large, canine-like or incisor-like teeth, often with patches of smaller teeth behind; teeth usually also present on vomer and often on palatines (roof of mouth). Dorsal and anal fins long, frequently highest anteriorly; dorsal-fin spines often flexible, outnumbering segmented dorsal-fin soft rays; 2 usually flexible spines in anal fin; pelvic fins inserted anterior to pectoral-fin bases, with 1 spine not visible externally; all fin rays, including those of caudal, unbranched (simple). Cycloid (smooth to touch) scales present at least posteriorly on body. Species distinguished by: dorsal-fin spines usually 21, and 7 to 37 segmented rays; pelvic fin with 2 externally obvious segmented rays; pectoral-fin rays usually 14; pectoral-fin rays not elongated or filamentous; first anal-fin spine of males longer than second; lateral-line tubes or canals present at least anteriorly on body; scales in lateral-line series usually 35 to 41 (some species with fewer); arched lateral-line scales usually 17 or 18, scales in straight portion of lateral line usually 20 to 22; only 1 or no cirrus on each side of nape; cirrus present on anterior nostril; a simple cirrus present above each eye; belly naked or with less than posterior third scaled. Body coloration: body generally brownish with darker spots, blotches, or broken bars; dark spot, if present at bases of posterior segmented dorsal-fin rays, smaller than 1/2 eye diameter; pair of broad, hypural-shaped dark blotches not present at base of caudal fin; lips with distinct black vertical bars; side of head spotted; side of head with pale area forming a reticulated pattern over preopercle (Ref.52855).