Body robust and oblong; wide and flat between eyes; eyes small; edge of preopercle angular; finely serrated; 21-24 gill rakers; dorsal fin XI, 15-16, the spines shorter than the rays; anal rays III, 8; pectoral rays 19; tail rounded.
Large fish: grey or greenish with pale blotches and smaller dark brown or blackish spots scattered over upper parts of head, body, and on pectoral fins. Small fish (< 100 cm) greenish to tawny brown with oblique, irregular darker brown bars.
The largest bony reef fish in the region, growing to 250 cm and 320 kg.
Size: 250 cm. Reaches at least 309 kg.
Habitat: rocky reefs as well as bays, estuaries and mangrove areas.
Depth: 1-100 m.
Western and eastern Atlantic and eastern Pacific; the SW and central E Gulf of California to Peru, the Revillagigedos, Cocos and Malpelo.