Ascending margin of the preopercle oblique, forming with the basal an obtuse angle: dorsal nearly of equal height throughout: branch-iostegous membrane with four rays.
(Form). Very similar to the last species, but rather more bulky in proportion to its length: depth about the same: thickness somewhat greater: teeth smaller, and more numerous, especially in the upper jaw: ascending margin of the preopercle more oblique, forming a more obtuse angle with the basal margin; this angle more immediately under the eye, a vertical from it forming a tangent to the posterior part of the orbit; (a line similarly drawn in L. variegatus is nearly coincident with the ascending margin, and falls behind the eye at a distance equalling the diameter of the eye:) branchiostegous membrane with only four rays*: lateral line rather lower, its course at one-fourth of the depth: scales somewhat larger: dorsal similar, nearly of equal height throughout: anal with the rays of the terminating fourth portion rather longer than the others; (in L. var. the rays are equal throughout:) caudal, pectorals, and ventrals, similar:
D. 16/13; A. 3/11; C. 13; P. 14; V. 1/5.
(Colours of a specimen in spirits). Back and sides for three-fourths of their depth dark brown without spots; lower portion of the sides and belly pale orange-yellow: anterior half of the dorsal with a large oblong space at the base of dusky blue; remainder of the fin pale, with a row of dark spots, one at the base of nearly every ray: anal and ventrals orange-yellow, edged with dusky blue: caudal pale, with some of the exterior rays tipped with the same colour.
The individual described above, the only one which I have seen of this species, is in the collection of the Zoological Society. It was procured in the London market. It so nearly resembles the L. variegatus, that had I not seen the two together and compared them closely, I should have hesitated about admitting them as distinct. I do not feel certain that it is the L. Vetula of Bloch, but it approaches more nearly to that species than any other described one with which I am acquainted.
* The Labrus Vetula of Bloch is represented by that author as having six branchiostegous. rays.