Diagnosis: body stout, rounded in cross-section; head broad; inter-orbital space flat; a well developed adipose eyelid covering most of pupil (Ref. 57400). Upper lip simple, thicker and deeper than in most Mugil species, armed with 2-3 rows (Ref. 57400), teeth in outer row curved, monocuspid (Ref. 57400, 81659) and moderately close-set (Ref. 81659) or widely spaced (Ref. 57400), inner row of less closely set, smaller teeth may be present just posterior to outer row (Ref. 81659). Lower lip with single row of unicuspid teeth, usually smaller than teeth in outer row on upper lip (Ref. 81659). A vertical line from hind end of upper jaw positioned midway between posterior nostril and anterior eye margin; maxillary pad not visible below corner of mouth when closed; origin of 1st dorsal fin equidistant from snout tip and caudal-fin base; pectoral axillary process well developed (30-37% of pectoral-fin length)(Ref. 57400). (Second) dorsal and anal fins entirely (and more or less densely) covered with scales (Ref. 57400, 81659). Anal fin usually III-9 (rarely III-10) in adults (usually II-10 in juveniles <30 mm SL), first spine very short and usually hidden by overlying scales (Ref. 81659). 11-13 scale rows between origins of first dorsal and pelvic fins (Ref. 57400, 81659).
Description: 32-39 (usually 35 or 36) scales in longitudinal series (excluding scales on caudal fin base)(Ref. 81659), usually 38-39 scales in lateral series (Ref. 26938). Scales on side covered with smaller secondary scales (Ref. 26938). Scales covering entire second dorsal and anal fins in adults, fins less heavily scaled in specimens <50 mm SL; pectoral fin 70-85% of head length, with 1 short, unsegmented ray dorsally and 14-17 longer, segmented rays; pharyngobranchial organ with single, large valve, often longer (anteroposteriorly) than deep (dorsoventrally)(Ref. 81659).
Coloration: live specimens: bluish green or olive dorsally, flanks silvery and abdomen off-white; yellowish blotch between eye and upper edge of opercle (Ref. 81659). Dorsal fins translucid (Ref. 57400) with numerous, fine, black speckles on and between rays, second dorsal fin sometimes slightly darker than first (Ref. 81659). Caudal fin yellowish at base, with fine black speckles on and between rays (Ref. 81659) and blackish distal margin (Ref. 57400, 81659). Anal and pelvic fins paler than dorsal fins (Ref. 81659) and may be yellowish (Ref. 57400, 81659). Pectoral fin speckled with fine black spots, but paler than dorsal fins (Ref. 81659). Dark spot dorsally at origin of pectoral fin (Ref. 57400, 81659). Preserved specimens: may be dark brown, with darker patches on dorsal parts of flanks adjacent to first dorsal fin and anteriorly on nape and occiput (Ref. 81659).