Body moderately deep, tail base narrow; dorsal and anal fins low, dorsal fin deeply notched; caudal fin deeply forked; pectoral fin bluntly pointed, upper rays longest. Head and body silvery-grey with greenish-brown to coppery-coloured markings and irregular lines on upper sides. Fins brownish with dark margins.
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Adults usually occur in small numbers over sandy areas near exposed reefs, although large schools numbering thousands have been seen by divers. Small pelagic juveniles, called 'paper fish', are compressed and transparent, and form schools over shallow rocky reefs.
New Zealand and south-eastern Australia
Maximum total length 65 cm