Head Pores - Oculoscapular canal with pores B', D, F,G,H'; preopercula canal with three pores.
Scales - Scales in lateral series 46-55, scales on side extending forward almost to pectoral axil, absent on dorsum immediately below spinous dorsal, scales cycloid with patch of strongly ctenoid scales under appressed pectoral fin (Birdsong 81)
Fins - D1 - VII, 2-6 moderately produced in both sexes; D2 - 16(15-17); pectoral - 23(22-24); anal - 16(15-17).
Head - fleshy nuchal crest well developed in females, poorly developed in males
Color - MALES: The following account is based on preserved specimens: body brownish with six to seven faint. broad bars on dorsum: dark, ovoid to crescent-shaped spot on body just below D1 origin; spot with concave to convex, diffuse anterior margin and a well defined convex posterior margin bordered by a pale stripe; head uniformly brownish; pectoral base with pale spot; spinous dorsal, soft dorsal, pectoral and pelvic fins uniformly dusky; anal fin with dusky distal margin becoming pale along base: caudal fin dusky with pale bar crossing diagonally the dorsalmost 4-6 striated rays near their bases; caudal fin slight,v darker ventrally than dorsally.
FEMALES: Body and head pigmented as in the males. Spinous dorsal fin dusky, paler along base; soft dorsal fin darkly pigmented with a pale stripe running diagonally from anterodistal tip of fin to the bases of the seventh through eighth elements: anal fin darkly pigmented distally, pale along base; pectoral fins dusky: pelvic fins dusky with darkly pigmented distal margin to fins and pelvic frenum. Caudal fin as in males; caudal fin in small specimens of both sexes dusky with two large, pale blotches.
Distribution - Baja California to Panama
Habitat - This species apparently inhabits deeper waters (15-35 m) some distance from shore. The caducous nature of the scales suggests that M. cyclolepis may not possess the burrowing habits displayed by many species of this genus. (Birdsong 81)