Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 3 spines and 25-27 rays. Anal fin with 24-25 rays. Pectoral rays 15-16. Body deep and laterally compressed. Scales enlarged above the pectoral fin base, forming a flexible tympanum. Cheeks scaly. Prominent groove on snout in front of eye. Longitudinal scale ridges on poste- rior part of the body. Caudal peduncle wider than deep. Caudal fin double emarginate.
Colour: Background colour grey dashed with olive green, suffused with yellow, overlaid with many pale spots. Three whitish blotches on back (faint or absent in large individuals). Pectoral fins yellow.
Habitat and Biology: Found over sand, sponge and weed bottoms to depths of 100 m. Solitary or in small groups. Feeds on benthic animals.
Distribution: Indo-West Pacific.
Remarks: Abalistes stellatus is not very often seen in the Maldives, because it is a moderately deep dwell-
ing species. It appears to be more common in the atoll basins.