Distinctive Characters: First dorsal fin with 2 spines. Second with 7 spines and 12 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 12 rays. Pectoral rays 12. Body depth 2.4-2.7 (of juveniles 2.8-3.3) in standard length. Dorsal profile of head of adults very steep. First 2 dorsal spines separate, originating over posterior edge of eye, flexible and prolonged (greatly elongate in juveniles). Caudal fin small and rounded.
Colour: Adults grey dorsally, yellowish white ventrally with 3 indistinct dark bars on body and 1 on caudal fin base. A small black spot rimmed with light blue, just above eighth lateral line scale. Juveniles with dark bars more evident than adults and may have 2 ocellated black spots on soft dorsal.
Habitat and Biology: Found on sandy substratum at depths of 7-40 m. Feeds mostly on hard shelled prey including molluscs and crustaceans. Distribution: Indo-Pacific. Remarks: Xyrichthys pavo lives on open sandy areas and dives into sand with approach of danger. Juveniles extend elongate first dorsal fin forward over head and mimic a drifting leaf.