Body elongates with depressed head. The spiny part of dorsal fin scarcely connected to the second part. A first dorsal spine short and barely connected to the rest of the fin. Caudal fin truncated to rounded. Pectoral fin thoracic. Large head armed with ridges, spines and serration. Lower jaw longer than upper. Small teeth in a band on the lower jaw. Knobbed-shaped teeth on the maxilla. Short vomerine and longer palatine tooth patches. Scales ctenoid. The first 15-20 lateral line scales bear small spines.
back and flanks brown to beige with 4-6 dark bars. White belly. Small dark spots scattered on the fins.
common 5-18 cm (max. 20 cm).
Papilloculiceps longiceps: no lateral line scales bear spines; small papilla present on the upper surface of eye.
Platycephalus indicus: more than 65 scales in lateral line, none with small spine.
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
Spend most of the day buried in the sand, waiting for prey. Feeds on crustaceans and small fish. In the Red Sea, young specimens (5-10 cm) occupy very shallow depths (0.5-1.5 m). Adults spend the day in deeper waters, entering the shallow sector at night.
benthic, sandy bottom to depths of 20 m.