Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 12-13 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 12-13 rays. Pectoral fin with 13 rays. Body depth 2.8-3.1 in standard length. The first two dorsal spines very flexible (very prolonged in juveniles). Caudal fin rounded.
Colour: Adults brown with grey head and a white bar across caudal fin base. Centres of scales yellowish. A large red area on abdomen. Juveniles mottled green or brown and white.
Habitat and Biology: Found primarily on shallow weedy or rubbly areas at depths of from a few to at least 25 m. Feeds on a wide range of benthic invertebrates, including molluscs and crustaceans.
Remarks: Novaculichthys taeniourus is well-known for its ability to overturn large rocks to prey upon the animals beneath. Juveniles mimic drifting clumps of algae. A popular aquarium fish.