Head relatively small, with small upturned mouth anterior to the eyes; eyes round and somewhat large. Body about four times as long as it is deep, with slender caudal peduncle. Three strong spines precede the first dorsal fin (with 10-14 rays), the last of which is smaller and attached to the dorsal fin; the first two spines are very tall. Dorsal spines are widely spaced. Anal fin opposite soft dorsal fin, with one spine and eight to 10 rays. Pectoral fins ending at mid-body length, with 10 rays. Pelvics have strong spine and single ray. All spines can be locked into place or depressed. Caudal fin brush-shaped. Trunk covered by slender plates, with much variation in arrangement. Coloration silvery on sides and bluish black dorsally, with orange pelvic membranes. Males become more reddish when courtship com mences and drab when it terminates. Reaches 3.5 in (90 mm) in length.
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