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It has a compressed yellow body with a black triangular region on its head, and as the name implies, a long silvery snout. There are usually 10–11 dorsal spines, a black spot on the anal fin, and rows of small black spots on the breast. The fish grows to about 22 centimetres (8.7 in) in length. In comparison, F. flavissimus has more dorsal spines, lacks the black spots, and its operculum is more curved. Rarely, F. longirostris can be found in an all-black form as well, or the yellow portion may be brown.
Found on coral reefs throughout the southern and western Pacific Ocean, as well as in portions of the Indian Ocean. It is easily confused with its more common cousin F. flavissimus. Both species may be kept as pets.