Small to medium-sized fishes, up to about 40 cm. Body elongate, moderately compressed. Eyes large, its diameter greater than snout length. Mouth subterminal; lower jaw slightly projecting; jaws usually with canine teeth; lateral surface of maxilla not covered with scales. Opercle usually with 2 or 3 spines. Gill membranes free from isthmus. Branchiostegal rays 7. Usually two dorsal fins; first fin with VII-X spines, and second fin with 0 or I spine and 8-10 soft rays. Anal fin with II or III spines and 6-8 soft rays. Caudal fin forked, sometimes emarginate. Color: body pink, reddish, whitish, silver, brownish or blackish; darker dorsally, paler ventrally.|
Similar families occurring in the area. Apogonidae: anal fin with 8-18 soft rays. Opercle with a single spine. Lactaridae: second dorsal fin with 19-23 soft rays. Anal fin with 25-28 soft rays.
Remarks: occurs in relatively deep waters at depths of about 20-700 m; demarsal, usually over soft bottoms.