Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 10 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 8-9 rays. Pectoral fin with 12 rays. Body depth 2.0-2.3 in standard length. Jaws extremely protractile. Pelvic fins of adults long. Preopercular margin smooth. Caudal fin of males with prolonged lobes.
Colour: Usual colour dark brown, occasionally yellow. Lower head and thorax abruptly pale grey. A large diffuse orangish area on nape and adjacent upper part of the body. Juveniles brown with 3 narrow white bars on body and white lines radiating from eye.
Habitat and Biology: Found mostly in shallow coral reefs at depths of 5 or 6 m. Solitary in habit. Feeds mainly on small fishes, crabs and shrimps, which it captures by rapid protrusion of the jaws.
Remarks: Epibulus insidiator is a common inhabitant of the Maldivian reefs. It can be seen in two very different colour forms.