Distance from the end of the snout to the posterior margin of the orbit only half that from the eye to the first dorsal fin-ray: first ray of the first dorsal moderate.
C. Dracunculus, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 434. Bloch, Ichth. pl. 162. f. 2. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. iv. pl. 84. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 89. Sordid Dragonet, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 167. pl. 28. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 224. pl. 32. Yarr. Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 266.
From six to eight and a half inches; rarely more.
(Form). Differs from the C. Lyra, which it closely resembles, in the following particulars: head shorter, and more decidedly triangular: eyes removed from the end of the snout by a space equalling not more than once their diameter; the distance from the end of the snout to the posterior margin of the orbit equalling only half the distance from this last point to the first dorsal fin-ray: gape much smaller: lateral line not so strongly marked: first dorsal with the first ray only one-third longer than the second, not prolonged into an extended filament. Number of fin-rays,
D. 4 - 10; A. 10; C. 10, and a short one; P. 21; V. 1/5.
(Colours). Back and sides reddish brown, sometimes cinereous brown, mottled with darker spots; lower portion of the sides, with a faint gloss of metallic gold: beneath white, with the posterior half pellucid: irides pale gold.
Considered by Neill* and Fleming† as only the female of the last species. This seems, however, hardly probable, from its being of much more frequent occurrence than the C. Lyra, invariably smaller, and with the colours very different. Common on most parts of the coast, and, when small, often taken in the shrimp-nets. Is sometimes called a Fox.