Its body is elongated and compressed, covered with small scales. The head is without scales; it has two well-separated dorsal fins, with short pectoral fins, and an anal fin followed by seven fins. Its tail fin, homo close, is preceded by a row of small fins. Its color is white on the belly and it has vertical dark blue or black stripes on the back.
It is one of the most popular fish in the Atlantic region and has been a fish since ancient times. Its meat is really good, and baked or grilled it can compete with any other species. It is also very common to find it canned.
As young they are omnivorous and feed on organic debris and offal found on human-inhabited coasts. Later they become predatory and feed on crustaceans, mollusks, sardines, and herring.