Small to moderate-sized (to 30 cm) marine fishes. Body compress, very deep (Pempheris) or slender (Parapriacanthus). Eye very large. Snout short. Maxilla broad, reaching to below pupil. Teeth small, in band in jaws, on palatine, and in V-shaped patch on vomer. Gill rakers long, usually 25-31. Dorsal fin single, with IV-VII graduated spines and 7-12 soft rays. Anal fin with III (rarely II) spines and 17-45 soft rays. Pelvic fin with I spine and 5 soft rays. Lateral line scales usually 40-82. Scales vary from ctenoid and adherent to cycloid and deciduous. Color: variable (e.g., silvery, pinkish, yellowish and brownish).|
Similar family occurring in the area. Berycidae: pelvic fin with 7-13 soft rays.
Remarks. usually seen by day in aggregations in caves or beneath ledges, dispersing at night to feed independently on zooplankton.