Head Pores - Cephalic canals paired between the eyes from pore D anteriorly; Pores present A',B,C(2), D,F,H'; preopercle with generally 3 pores present.
Scales - 31(29-35) mostly ctenoid except upper body (P84)
Fins - D1- VI, not generally filamentous; D2 - 11(10-12); anal - 12(11-13); pectoral - 16-17(12-19) reaching to anal fin origin; pelvic I,5 extending to anus in males less in females.
Color - Snout with several streaks, darkest running from eye to jaw halfway bewteen anterior nares and angle of jaw; diagonal bar across cheek from midpreopercle to angle of jaw; two ventrally directed bars from cheek bar to lower edge of cheek of variable intensity and often incomplete, one in mid cheek region, the other near the preoperculasr margin. Opercle dusky. Lagre dark shoulder patch at upper angle of opercle on side of nape; thin intense cresent of subcutaneous pigment just before D1 origin in mid nape region between shoulder patches. Dark spot on upper and lower P1 base. Five midlateral oblong blotches, last being bars arising from blotches , forming a V pattern, frequently with short anteroventral and posteroventral diagonal bars to create an X pattern, but diagonal bars also often incomplete. D1 diagonally barred, spines frequently with dark tips in males. D2 diagonally barred with dark spot at tip od flexable spine in males. Anal dusky in males with occasional dark spots naer base; dark submarginal bar on clear background in females. P11 lightly flecked or clear in females; slightly dusky with thin vertical bars of dark spots in males. Caudal in males with a clear streak near upper edge, but dark margin, slightly vertical barring in middle, especially near base and disky at lower edge; mostly barred in females with clear lower margin, dusky submarginal region and slightly dusky band on upper edge. P2 dusky in adult males; dusky medially with dark streak each side in females and juvenile males. Life colors were described in Jordan & Gilbert 1882 and 1883. (Pezold 1984)
Distribution - Cheasapeake Bay to Florida, Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico, Cayman Islands and Caribbean south to Brazil; rarely found north of North Carolina to New Jersey.
Habitat - Found in high salinity grass flats in lower estuaries and barrier Islands.