Head Pores - Oculoscapular canal with pores B',D,F,G,H' - - G sometimes absent; preopercle canal with 3 pores, middle pore very small
Scales - Lateral scale rows with 68-78 scales; scales on sides extending forward almost to pectoral axil, absent on dorsum below anterior portion of spinous dorsal fin; most scales weakly ctenoid, cycloid on venter. (Birdsong 81)
Fins - D1 - VII, filaments 2-6 slightly produced in bothe sexes, reaching 4th element in D2; D2 - 18-19(16-20); pectoral - 21-22(20-23); anal - 19(18-20)
Head - nuchal crest present in both sexes
Color - Male: live color; boday pale with greenish cast to dorsum, whitish venter and dusky midlateral stripe; cheek below eye with three iridescent blue stripes with pale orange stripes between; pale orange stripe connecting anterior margin of orbit with upper lip, chin with rosy cast midventrally; opercle dusky orange with iridescent blue bar or spot; nuchal crest with rosy cast; branchiostegal membrane with bluish cast. Proximal half of spinous dorsal fin rosy orange (most intense distally), and in order from the base, a hayline band, greenish-yellow band, hayline band and pale, rosy-orange distal margin. Soft dorsal fin pigmented like spinous dorsal fin. Anal fin pale yellow proximally, becoming orange distally; pectoral fins pale; pelvics dusky rose. Caudal fin with orange cast to dorsal margin; greenish-yellow band across dorsal rays, continuous with similar stripe on body; ventral caudal membranes with yellowish cast.
Females: as in males except: venter above anal fin white, this area bounded by a dusky line running posterodorsally from anal fin origin to above midline along caudal peduncle. Belly with rosy cast; chin whitish. Soft dorsal pale with rosy-oragne base whcuh runs diagonally from midway first element to base of 6th to 7th element; a greenish-yellow stripe running from leading fin edge to base of eigth or 9th elements, paralleling rosy-orange area; distal margin of fin with rosy cast. Anal fin pale with rosy cast to base. Caudal fin with median, dusky rose stripe and a similar stripe below that originates at ventral base and runs diagonally to fin margin just below tip; caudal fin yellowish above, rosy below. (Birdsong 81)
Distribution - SE Florida (Juiper Inlet south to Florida Bay), Dry Tortugas, Bahamas, Yucatan, Belize
Habitat - inshore waters over calcareous bottom sediments; abundance varies from year to year with change in sediment composition (Birdsong 81)