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The body is moderately deep in profile, with the dorsal profile of the head steeply sloped, having a well-developed preopercular notch and knob. Identifying morphological features include the number of gill rakers on lower limb of the first arch, which number 13 or 14, with the total rakers on the first arch numbering 20 to 22. The dorsal fin consists of 10 spines anterior to 14 or 15 soft rays, while the anal fin has three spines and seven or eight soft rays. The pectoral fins have 15 or 16 rays, with the caudal fin being slightly emarginate. The row of scales on the back rise obliquely above the lateral line, which contains 48 to 51 scales. This species can reach a length of 40 cm (16 in), though most do not exceed 25 cm (9.8 in). The color is probably the most diagnostic feature of the fish, especially when alive or fresh from the water. The back and sides of the fish are bright yellow, with the lower sides and underside of head fading to white. Four bright-blue stripes run longitudinally on the side of the fish, with several faint greyish stripes on lowermost part of sides. Most fins are yellow.
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