The body is egg-shaped, long and slightly flattened. The head is conical and the nose squashed. The mouth has a short jaw and the teeth are fused together, forming a sort of beak made up of four plates. There is only one long dorsal fin. The rear edge of the caudal fin is convex. The females are a reddish colour with a brown spot behind the operculum above the pectorals and a yellow spot on the base of the tail fin behind the dorsal fin. Males are brownish or green with small white dots on the back and sides.
Reproduction takes place between August and September. The species usually lives in groups of 3 - 6 individuals of both sexes and swims amongst the rocks hunting for fish and invertebrates. The parrotfish retreats to its lair in deeper waters during the night.