Small to moderate-sized marine fishes (maximum size about 26 cm, most species less than 6 cm). Body slender. Eye large. Jaws with bands of conical teeth, broadest anteriorly. Gill membranes broadly attached across isthmus. Dorsal fin divided into 3 distinct segments, 1st with III-X spines, 2nd with VII-XXVI spines and 3rd with 7-17 soft rays. Anal fin with 0-II (rarely IV) spines and 14-31 soft rays. Caudal fin with branched rays. Pelvic fin with I spine and 2-3 soft rays. Single lateral line. Scales usually ctenoid (1 species of Lepidoblennius with cycloid). Color: highly variable, frequently with bars or a mottled pattern; males usually have a different color pattern from females.|
Similar family occurring in the area. Blenniidae: body always naked and dorsal fin comprised of single fin. Clinidae: dorsal fin consisting of 1 or 2 fins and caudal-fin rays unbranched. Gobiidae: 2 dorsal fins.
Remarks. Most occurring in shallow water, often on reef flats or in tidepools.