Body oblong, compressed. Head length less than body depth; preorbital and preopercle margins serrate; 2 flat spines on opercle. Eye moderately large. Mouth small, maxilla reaching to below posterior half of eye; bands of fine teeth in jaws, vomer, and palatines. A single dorsal fin, deeply notched between spinous and soft-rayed portions, with X spines and 10 to 12 soft rays; anal fin with III spines and 9 to 10 soft rays; caudal fin emarginate, lobes somewhat rounded. Scales ctenoid, moderately large; lateral line complete, with 48 to 53 scales; a well-developed scaly sheath at base of dorsal and anal fins. Silvery, the scales dorsally on body with black edges, those on side with a black bar or spot; juveniles with a broad black zone, edged above and below in white, in soft portion of dorsal fin, and each lobe of caudal fin with a large, white-edged black spot; black areas in these fins enlarge with growth until in adults most of these fins black.
Primarily a freshwater inhabitant but may penetrate adjacent marine habitats. Occurs in estuaries and the middle reaches of rivers; usually in relatively fast-flowing, clear streams.
Widespread in the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea to South Africa, from Ryukyu Islands to Queensland and eastward to the Society Islands. It is commonly found in Taiwan.
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