Diagnosis: 14-18 gill rakers on first gill arch; no large spots on flanks (Ref. 81260). 4-6 bands or 2 rows of dark blotches and short horizontal lines usually visible when stressed (Ref. 50577, 81260). Relatively robust (body depth 26.7-38.2%, mean 34.4% SL); lachrymal depth less than 21% HL (Ref. 81260). No iridescence on cheek, operculum and flanks (Ref. 50577).
Description: relatively robust (body depth 26.7-38.2%, mean 34.4% SL); snout medium length (27.2-39.2%, mean 33.2% HL); shallow lachrymal depth (17.2-21.0%, mean 19.6% HL) (Ref. 81260). Dentary with 5 pores 5; lower jaw with 2-3 rows of unicuspid teeth; snout relatively acute (Ref. 50577). Caudal peduncle short, may be deeper than long or longer than deep; 8-10 (median 9) tuberculate hypobranchial and ceratobranchial rakers on first gill arch, 5-8 (median 6) lanceolate epibranchial rakers; 1st ray of pelvic fin longest in both sexes, but clearly more elongated in males; some dorsal and anal fin rays elongated; caudal rounded in both sexes; 1.5-2.5 scale rows between 8th pored scale of upper lateral line and dorsal fin base; sexual dimorphism well-developed. Males usually 15-20% larger than females, dorsal and anal rays in males more elongated (Ref. 81260).
Coloration: head and dorsum dark brown, paler ventrally; upper lips brown, lower lips white or bluish grey (Ref. 81260). 2 rows of dark longitudinal stripes and small blotches sometimes visible on flanks (Ref. 52307, 81260), often combined with 5-7 dusky bars (Ref. 81260). Ventral parts of head, cheek and opercle light brown; males with dorsal fin clear to pale blue, with red margin and white submargin, other parts of dorsal fin with patterns of red blotches (in anterior parts) or short vertical stripes (posterior parts); caudal fin pale violet, upper edge with red margin and white or light blue submargin, remainder of fin with red and light blue maculae; anal fin violet, with red and white to light blue spots in posterior part, dark margin along outer edge; anterior edge of pelvic fin dark violet or blue, other parts violet; pectoral fin clear to slightly yellow (Ref. 81260). Body scales dark marginated in males (Ref. 52307, 81260). Females with iridescent white or rosy coloration in spinous dorsal and upper half of soft dorsal fin, same in upper edge of caudal fin; other parts of both fins violet to bluish, same colour in anal; anal fin with dark trailing margin; pelvic fins slightly bluish or yellow, with dark anterior edge; pectoral fins clear to slightly yellow; belly of ripe and courting females pale rosy (Ref. 81260).