Small to medium-sized fishes. Head broad in dorsal view and depressed, often with barbels and fleshy tentacles around jaws. Mouth large, terminal, and slightly protrusible. Opercle and subopercle with spines. Glandular tissue present in opercle and pectoral fin axil. Gill opening small, restricted to sides of body. Dorsal fin with II or III spines and 15-25 soft rays; soft rays longer than anal-fin soft rays. Anal fin with 12-28 soft rays. Pelvic fin with I spine and 1-3 soft rays. Caudal fin rounded. Pectoral fin large, broadbased, and rounded. Body with scales or naked; lateral line single or multiple. Color: body color variable; usually brownish dorsally and posteriorly, often with spots, saddles, bars or other markings.|
Similar families occurring in the area. Uranoscopidae: gill opening wide, free from isthmus. Pelvic fins with I spine and 5 soft rays. Lophiidae: first dorsal-fin spine modified into an angling apparatus.
Remarks. Occurs from littoral areas to deep waters, often in estuaries; in sediment or in crevices.