Body elongated with depressed head. The first dorsal fin barely connected to the second part, its first and last spines separate from the remaining spines. Soft rays of dorsal and anal fins moderately incised. Caudal fin truncated. Pectoral fin thoracic. Large head (2.9-3.2 in SL) with smooth bony ridges. Lower jaw projected. Small teeth in both jaws. Vomerine teeth in a single transverse patch. Eye dorsally situated. Scales ctenoid.
back brown grey with whitish belly. Several dark bars on the back of most specimens. Numerous dark spots and blotches on pectoral and pelvic fins. Two (rarely, three) distinct black stripes on caudal fin.
common 30-50 cm (max. 70 cm).
Other platycephalids: less than 65 scales in lateral line; two separate vomerine teeth patches.
Scorpaenidae: clearly continuous dorsal fin.
Triglidae: three lowermost pectoral rays detached.
Callionymidae: much smaller species; pointed snout with small mouth; no spiny ridges on the head.
BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
Feeds mainly on crustacean and fish. Hunts by "sit and wait" method. Eggs and larvae pelagic.
habitat : benthic on sandy or muddy substrate to depth of 40 m. Euryhaline species reported to penetrate estuaries.