Distinctive Characters: First dorsal fin with 6 spines. Second dorsal fin with 1 spine and 28-32 rays. Anal fin with 1 spine and 27-30 rays. Pectoral fin with 19-20 rays. Body depth 4.4-4.9 in standard length. Front of first dorsal fin extremely elongated. Caudal fin rounded.
Colour: Body whitish, shading to bright red posteriorly. A magenta streak on top of head. Spinous dorsal whitish, the basal half of leading edge red. Dorsal and anal fins primarily red, suffused with blackish posteriorly and distally. Caudal fin blackish red with two converging narrow dark olive bands.
Habitat and Biology: Found on the reef slope, hovering above burrows in sandy patches, at depths between 6 to 60 m. Does not stray far from its burrow into which it quickly darts when frightened. Usually seen in pairs. Feeds on zooplankton, especially copepods and crustaceans larvae.
Remarks: Nemateleotris magnifica is found in shallower waters than N. decora. N. magnifica can be distinguished from N. decora by the colour patterns and the length of the elongated first dorsal spine, which is much longer in N. magnifica. A popular aquarium fish.