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Max length : 30.0 cm. Dorsal spines (total): 3; Dorsal soft rays (total): 12-13; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 7 - 8. Color variable; has a black phase with white pectoral ray tips. Bony part of illicium with numerous dark crossbands and nearly twice as long as the 2nd dorsal spine; esca an elongate tuft of flattened appendage.
Inhabit shallow sheltered reefs. Adults usually with sponges; juveniles openly on sand or reef, mimicking small sponges or nudibranchs. Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Hawaiian and Society islands.