Body a deep oval, moderately compressed; head pointed, short; mouth small, lips thick, opens at the front; the top jawbone slips partially under the under-eye bone when the mouth is closed; teeth incisiform, bases set horizontally in mouth, with curved, hockey-stick shape, outer band of large immovable teeth with flattened; teeth on central roof of mouth, none on tongue; preopercle smooth; dorsal fin continuous, XI spines that fold down into a scaly groove, 9 soft rays, spiny dorsal much longer base than soft dorsal; anal rays III, 10, soft anal much higher and shorter than soft dorsal; tail forked; paired fins are relatively short; origin of the pelvics behind the base of the pectoral fin; scales small, thick and rough, covering the body, soft portions of the median fins, none on snout or between eyes.
Sides with about 8 greyish-brown bars with light grey spaces between them; a blue spot on upper edge of gill cover and a black spot below pectoral-fin base; ventral portion of head and body whitish.
Size: grows to 45 cm.
Habitat: often seen in schools on shallow weed-covered reefs.
Depth: 0-15 m.
California (Monterey southwards) to Baja California, and Gulf of California, particularly in the northern and central parts.