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E. lineatus has a total of 10-15 spines in its dorsal fins with the anterior spines of the first dorsal fin being much taller than the middle spines which gives this fin a concave outline. The anal fin has 11 - 12 soft rays and it has a vertebrae count of 37. Its body is almost entirely scaleless except for the lateral line and a "corselet" and there is no swim bladder. It is generally iridescent blue in colour with black markings on its back made up of 3 to 5 horizontal stripes, as well as a variable amount of black or dark grey spots above the pelvic fins. Occasional specimens have extensive longitudinal stripes of light grey on their belly while other individuals have few or no such markings. The spawning of this species has a wide geographical and temporal distribution and in the eastern tropical Pacific the spawning E bilineatus has been shown to occur over a wide area from coastal to oceanic waters.
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