Body moderately elongate, compressed; body depth 3.0-3.3 in SL; head pointed; mouth large; preopercle finely serrated; lower gill rakers 13-15; dorsal rays X, 13-14, third spine greatly elevated, about three times longer than second; anal rays III,6-8; pectoral rays 16; 61-68 lateral line scales.
Generally white with numerous black, brown, and orange spots that may coalesce to form dark lines behind lower belly; 6-7 indistinct dark bars on side of body; an oblique bar from eye to lower corner of operculum; smaller fish with a dark line from eye to tail fin; soft dorsal, tail and anal fins densely spotted.
Size: attains 38.1 cm.
Inhabits low-profile, often weed-covered, reefs adjacent to sandy bottoms.
Depth: 1-60 m.
Central California to the Gulf of California, most common in the northern Gulf.