Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 14-16 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 9 rays. Pectoral fin with 18-20 rays. Body depth 2.3-2.8 in standard length. Lateral line scales 66-80. Pectoral fin sub-equal to or less than pelvic fin. Dorsal head profile of adults straight to concave, the nape distinctly convex. Caudal fin rounded.
Colour: Body orange-red to red, becoming duskier in larger individuals. Scattered faint bluish-white spots. Head purplish with numerous close-set orange-red spots. Fins red, membranes of the soft dorsal, caudal and anal fins dusky. Body, caudal and soft dorsal fins with purplish spots.
Habitat and Biology: Demersal. Occurs on coral reefs and in atoll basins usually at depths between 30-100 m (occasionally in shallower waters). Nocturnal. - Feeds on fishes and crustaceans.
Remarks: Cephalopholis sonnerati is a rather deep-dwelling species. It is therefore rarely seen by divers, but it is occasionally caught by hand lines at night.