Body a strongly compressed oval disc; mouth small, at end of a short, pointed, tubular snout that is 1/3-1/2 head length; cheek bone free and smooth; teeth long and slender; dorsal fin XIII, 19-20, triangular shape, 3rd or 4th spine longest, with notch between spiny and soft parts; anal rays III,14-16, 2nd anal spine very long, much longer than 3rd; rear edges of dorsal and anal fins vertical; tail edge straight to rounded; lateral line in a high arc, incomplete (ends under dorsal fin), with 40-47 scales; scales rough, covering head and body, a low scaly sheath on base of dorsal fin.
Yellow with prominent black scythe-like marking on side, also a black diagonal band from snout to dorsal fin origin.
Size: grows to 17 cm.
Habitat: usually seen alone or in small groups on rocky reefs.
Depth range 3-270 m
Southern California to the SW Gulf of California and the Revillagigedo Islands.
Very similar to P. carlhubbsi, which is found in the southern part of our region. The color patterns of P falcifer and P carlhubbsi differ as follows: 1. dark band along the snout is black in P. carlhubbsi, pale grey in P. falcifer. 2. black scythe mark reaches the base of the dorsal fin spines in P. carlhubbsi but ends well under those spines in P. falcifer.
3. the upper back and base of the dorsal fin are grayish in P. carlhubbsi and yellow in P. falcifer.