A high body, slightly flattened with a typically arched dorsal profile. The nose is short and rounded and the lower jaw almost horizontal. There are 5 easily visible pores on the chin. The dorsal fin has very long rays and the second dorsal fin and the anal fin have a scaly base. The brown meagre is a uniform dark brown with metallic or golden shimmer. The ventral and anal fins are black with a white border and the second dorsal and the back of the tail fin have black borders.
A gregarious species that is usually more active at twilight and during the night forming shoals often in the vicinity of caves. The brown meagre feeds on fish, molluscs, crustaceans, sea urchins, worms and sometimes algae. Reproduction takes place between March and August when the meagre moves closer to the coast. The male of the species produces sounds by moving the muscles around the gaseous bladder.