Distance from the end of the snout to the posterior margin of the orbit, and thence to the first dorsal fin-ray, equal: first ray of the first dorsal greatly prolonged.
C. Lyra, Linn. Sust. Nat. torn. i. p. 433. Block, Ichth. pl. 161. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. i. pl. 9. Flem. Brit. An. p. 208. Dracun-culus, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 136. tab. H. 6. f. 3. Gemmeous Dragonet, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 164. pl. 27. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 221. pl. 31. Yarr. Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 261. Le Savary ou Doucet, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 247.
From nine to twelve inches.
(Form). Head depressed, oblong-triangular, broader than the body, equalling one-fourth of the entire length: body elongated, gradually tapering from the nape to the caudal: eyes approximating, directed upwards, removed twice their diameter from the end of the snout; the distance from the end of the snout to the posterior margin of the orbit equalling the distance from this last point to the first dorsal fin-ray: gape wide: intermaxillary very protractile: upper jaw longest: both jaws with velvet-like teeth; none on the vomer or palatines: pre-opercle prolonged backwards, and terminating in three short but strong spines, the two innermost of which are directed upwards: opercle concealed beneath the investing skin, which is carried all round and nearly closes the branchial aperture, leaving only a small round hole on each side of the nape for the egress of the water: lateral line at first slightly descending, but afterwards straight: skin smooth and naked: first dorsal commencing at a little less than one-third of the whole length, caudal excluded; first ray prolonged into a slender filament, varying in length, but often reaching, when laid back, to the base of the caudal; the three succeeding rays much shorter, and rapidly decreasing, the last scarcely equalling the depth of the body; membrane of the fin extending beyond the last ray, and terminating at the base of the first ray in the second dorsal: this last fin three times as long as the first; all the rays articulated but simple; of moderate and nearly equal height, the last two only being a little the longest: both dorsals rise from a shallow groove which is continued on to the caudal: this last rounded; the uppermost ray and the two lowermost simple, the rest branched: anal similar to the second dorsal, but placed rather more backward, and with the rays not quite so long: pectorals somewhat pointed; the middle rays longest; all, except the first, branched: ventrals jugular, very far asunder, broader than the pectorals, to which they are partly united at the base by a membrane; first ray short and spinous; articulated rays very much branched:
D. 4 - 10; A. 9; C. 10, and 2 short; P. 20; V. 1/5: vent rather before the middle; furnished with a conical papilla as in the last genus. (Colours). " Predominant colour a fine pellucid brown, with marks arid spots of pale blue, white, yellow, and black, disposed with peculiar elegance, especially about the head and dorsal fin: ventrals dark purple, finely contrasting with the pellucidity and whiteness of the pectorals: throat black." Don.
Found on many parts of the coast, but seldom in any plenty. Pennant states that it is not unfrequent off Scarborough, where it is taken by the hook in thirty or forty fathoms water. Obs. Both Willugrhby and Bloch represent this species with all the rays of the first dorsal nearly equally elongated. In our British specimens it is only the first ray which is so extraordinarily developed. This circumstance seems to suggest the possibility of their species being different from ours.