Body deep, orbicular and strongly compressed, reaching to 20 cm. Head short, its length shorter than half of body depth; interorbital region and anterior part of head naked or head covered with scales. Mouth small, rear end of upper jaw not reaching vertical through anterior edge of eye; upper jaw not protrusible; jaws covered with bands of slender setiform or compressed teeth. Dorsal fin single or deeply notched before soft-rayed part, with V - IX spines and 19 - 38 soft rays; anal fin with III spines and 15 - 27 soft rays; pectoral fins rounded and usually shorter than head; caudal fin truncate or wedge shaped. Scales large and smooth, or small and ctenoid. Lateral line complete. Color: adults silvery, silvery blue-green, yellowish silvery; frequently with vertical dark bars.
Similar families occurring in the area. Drepanidae: upper jaw greatly protrusible; pectoral fins elongate reaching posterior part of anal fin base. Chaetodontidae: dorsal fin with VI to XVII spines and 14 - 34 soft rays; anal fin with III - V spines and 15 - 24 soft rays. Monodactylidae: pelvic fins rudimentary or absent. Scatophagidae: dorsal fin notched or divided to base before soft rayed part, with XI or XII spines and 15 - 18 soft rays; anal fin with IV spines and 13 - 17 soft rays.
Remarks. Occurring in various shallow water habitats at including estuaries, harbors, and coral reefs. Marketed fresh but with small commercial importance.