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DistributionDistribution: tropical Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. Compressed and elongate body; scaly. Lower jaw with fleshy barbel at the tip. A series of 8-12 isolated dorsal spines preceeding a soft dorsal fin having 23-28 rays. Anal fin with 25-28 fin rays. Anus and pelvics far apart. Rounded caudal fin. Well developed lateral line. Abdominal vertebrae with 2 equal lateral extensions. Body musculature supported by bony struts that appear interwoven. Total vertebrae 59-64: abdominal 24-26 and caudal 35-38. Predaceous. Usually occuring on reefs alongside larger fish or in a head-down vertical orientation. Recorded maximum length 80 cm.