Lateral line smooth: pectorals large, reaching beyond the ventrals: humeral and opercular spines extremely long: snout divided into two dentated processes.
T. Lyra, Linn. Suit. Nat. torn. i. p. 496. Block, Ichth. pl. 350. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. v. pl. 118. Flem. Brit. An. p. 215. Piper, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 282. tab. S. 1. f. 4. Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p.279. pl. 55. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p.374. pl. 67. Yarr. Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 44. La Lyre, Cuv. et Vol. Poiss. torn. iv. p. 40. Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 159.
From twenty to twenty-eight inches.
(Form). Readily distinguished from all the other British species by the length of the opercular and humeral spines. Head very large: depth at the nape a little less than one-fifth of the whole length; length of the head one-fourth: snout deeply emarginated; the lateral lobes much more produced than in any other species; the margin of each lobe divided into twelve or fifteen teeth, the middle ones long and pointed: the whole head finely granulated: only one, rather strong, spine at the anterior angle of the orbit: the spine on the supra-scapular, and the large one on the opercle, longer and sharper than in any other species; the humeral spine still more developed; the humeral bone, when measured to the end of the spine, equalling more than half the length of the head: first dorsal with the rays very sharp, a little bent, and smooth; the first and second only with their anterior edges obsoletely denticulated; second and third rays equal; fourth scarcely shorter: pectorals very large, equalling nearly one-third of the entire length, extending considerably beyond the ventrals:
D. 9 - 16; A. 16; C. 11, and some short ones; P. 14, and 3; V. 1/5: dorsal ridges more strongly serrated than in the other species: lateral line smooth. Number of vertebrae thirty- three. (Colours) "The general colour pale flesh-colour, rosy or darker on the back, and the belly white; fins bluish at the base, and tinged with reddish towards the extremities: irides fine golden yellow." Don.
Far from common; the name of Piper being often applied to the last species, which is of much more frequent occurrence in the London market. Frequents the western coasts at all seasons of the year, according to information communicated to Pennant. Is also occasionally taken at Weymouth. Attains a weight of nearly seven pounds. Feeds on Crustacea. This and some other species have the power of uttering a low grumbling sound when taken out of the water. The English name of Piper is derived from this circumstance.