Body moderately deep, snout pointed; front and rear nostrils simple holes; mouth relatively large and protractile; teeth conical to caniniform, those at front of jaws generally enlarged and fang-like; tooth patch at central roof of mouth anchor shaped, front curved or pointed; sides of roof of mouth with 1 tooth patch; 16-17 gill rakers; preopercle serrated, lower margin notched; dorsal rays X, 14; dorsal continuous; anal rays III, 8; soft dorsal and anal with angular ends; tail edge ~ straight; bases of soft dorsal and anal fins scaly; scale rows on upper back parallel to lateral line .
Rosy red anteriorly becoming bright yellow to orange over most of body; fins mainly yellow or orange; a blue horizontal streak below eye.
Size: maximum size to about 66 cm.
Habitat: occurs over rocky bottoms, usually found close to shelter; juveniles common in estuaries; a nocturnal predator of fishes, shrimps, crabs, and molluscs.
Depth: 3-94 m.
Southern California to the Gulf of California to Peru, including all the oceanic islands except Clipperton.