Caudal fin rounded in juveniles. Dorsal fin notched between forward spines; 3rd or 4th spine the longest. Bases of soft dorsal and anal fins covered with scales and thick skin; scales small and greatly overlapping. Ground color tawny in individuals in shallow water, shading to pinkish or red in those from deeper water, sometimes with an orange cast. Can change color pattern in a few minutes from almost white to uniformly dark brown depending on mood. Third and fourth vertical bars branch above lateral line forming a W-shaped mark. Several distinct black spots below and behind eye and a characteristic `tuning-fork shaped stripe on top of head, dividing just behind the orbits. (see also Refs. 5221, 5222, 5227 and 2458).
- Smith, C.L. 1978 Serranidae. In W. Fischer (ed.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. West Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). volume 4. [pag. var.]. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 3708) http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=3708&speccode=1203
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