Body moderately compressed. Dorsal spines very long, longer than body depth, their membranes incised almost to the base. Dorsal rays much shorter with complete membrane. Anal and caudal fins rounded. Pectoral rays very long reaching at least the midpoint of anal fin base, their membrane deeply incised, especially in the upper rays. Pelvic fin long. Head with feeble spination and fleshy flaps and cirri, the most prominent being the pair above the eyes, often finally banded or spotted. Large mouth with villiform teeth. Small cycloid scales.
body with alternating wide black and narrow white and red bands. Dorsal spines, pectoral and ventral fins are alternately banded with black, red and pink. Dorsal soft rays, anal and caudal fins with series of dark spots along the rays on a light pink background.
common 15-35 cm (max. 50 cm).
Unique, does not resemble any indigenous species of the Mediterranean.
BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
Crepuscular piscivorous species, active mainly at sunset and sunrise. Hunts solitarily or in small groups either by "sit and wait" or by using pectoral fins to force small fishes to rocks. The dorsal spines are highly venomous. When provoked by a diver, it often threatens the intruder by directing its spines and even by overt movements.
coral reef (in the original habitat) and rocky shores to depth of 50 m.