Body oblong, somewhat compressed, lower profile ~ horizontal; back high, arched; head low, broad, conical; snout < eye; mouth ~ horizontal, under projecting snout; chin with 1 short, thick rigid barbel with a pore at its tip, and 2 pairs of pores beside its base; teeth in bands on each jaw, outer row on top jaw larger; 18-25 gill rakers; preopercle finely serrated; dorsal fin with a deep notch, X + I, 29-33, spines slender, second dorsal long base; anal small, II, 7-8 rays, 2nd spine thick, ¾ length of 1st ray; pectoral short, not reaching tip of pelvic, 15-17 rays; tail edge straight to slightly concave; scales rough on head and body, smooth on fins; bases of soft dorsal and anal fins with scaly sheath; lateral line scales 50-53.
Back blue-grey, silvery below; sides of body with indistinct, oblique dark lines along scale rows; inside gill chamber very dark, this color visible through gill cover; dorsal dark, pale line along middle; tail dark; anal pale base, dark outer margin, sometimes yellow tint; pectoral dark; pelvics yellow-brown; juveniles lack stripes, larger ones with 5-8 wide dark saddles on back.
Size: 35 cm.
Habitat: coastal sandy shores and bays, lagoons.
Depth: 1-20 m.
The mouth of the Gulf of California to northern Peru.