The body is oblong with a strongly convex profile of the head anterior to the eye; the snout is steeply sloped. The mouth is relatively large with pronounced canines and molars that are used for grasping and crushing prey, respectively. The eye is large; juveniles have a prominent black stripe through the eye. The dorsal fin has 10 slender spines and 10 soft rays, the anal fin has 3 spines and 9 soft rays, and the pectoral fin has 14 rays. The caudal fin is forked in adults and somewhat lunate in juveniles. Body color is light brown to bluish grey; ventral surfaces are white. Three prominent black or dark brown saddles cover the flank dorsally. Fins and the caudal peduncle range from yellow or reddish orange to clear or dusky. The lobes of the caudal fin may be pink in adults. Able to switch between dark and light color forms by behavioral control, usually in response to the color of the sea bottom. Grows to 23.6 in (60 cm) in total length.
Was this article helpful?