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Transitional S. baldwini can be distinguished by having two head stripes extending rearward from the upper eye vs. three in S. tigrinus and none in S. tortugarum and S. tabacarius (the latter two species also do not have the cheek stripe). The transitional melanophores forming on the body at the base of the fourth through sixth dorsal-fin spines split into two patches (usually under the base of the fourth and sixth, sparing the fifth), while in S. tigrinus the melanophores consist of a single patch. On S. tortugarum and S. tabacarius the melanophores concentrate on the proximal half of the fin membranes, not initially forming patches on the body below the fin.

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