Body deep, compressed, back high; head short, blunt; mouth small, low, ~ horizontal, lips fleshy; inside mouth not red; teeth in bands on jaws, outer ones larger, conical, none on center roof of mouth; a pair of conspicuous pores plus a central groove under the chin; preopercle finely serrated; dorsal continuous but deeply notched, 4th spine longest, XI-XII, 14-16; anal III, 9-11, 2nd spine long but not greatly so; pectoral fins relatively short, not, reaching origin of anal; tail forked; scales moderate to large, rough, over entire body and head except front of snout, lips and chin, on membranes between dorsal and anal soft rays; rear lines of scales oblique rows above lateral line; lateral-line scales 54-62.
Overall silvery with yellowish tinge; a prominent blackish bar on side at level of outer part of pectoral fin; upper margin of operculum black; black spot on outer pectoral base; juveniles have 2-3 blackish stripes on the side and lack a spot at the tail fin base.
Size: attains 60 cm, but common to 30 cm.
Habitat: found on rocky, weed-covered reefs, sometimes forming schools.
Depth: 5-61 m.
Central California to central Baja, the Gulf of California.