The body is typically elongated in youth and deep in adults with robust and flatheads, with short snout in adults; they have armed jaws with very large, sharp and well developed teeth.
The have a silver head where a deep red iris stands. A vertical black band pierces their eye. They have a silver-coloured body with numerous oval spots in juveniles.
The ventral region has few or any spots and is yellowish or orange in juvenile. It has a yellow anal fin at its base. In adults has a large leaden body is homogeneously dark like their fins.
They are very territorial fish and mainly predators. Eat smaller fish, aquatic insect larvae and crustaceans (shrimp). However early youth and adults eat other fish fins.