Pomatoschistus pictus is a small elongate goby reaching only 6 cm in length. It has two distinct dorsal fins positioned closely together. The first usually has six spines and two rows of black spots, two between each of the spines. The second dorsal fin has one spine and up to 10 rays and one or more rows of smaller black spots, one or more between each of the rays. The caudal fin is more or less rounded. The painted goby is usually faun to yellowish-olive green in colour. Four pale saddles are present across the back and four double spots are situated between the saddles along the lateral midline. The areas anterior of the dorsal fins and around the breast region are naked of scales.
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