Body heavy, deep and thick, depth 2 1-8 in. length; head about 2 2-3; mouth large, its maxillary reaching nearly to posterior margin of eye-the supplemental bone strong; scales on the cheeks in 7 to 9 rows; mucous pores about head very large; spines very stout, the longest as long as from snout to middle of eye. Color very dark green, sometimes almost black; three oblique bands across the cheeks, and a black opercular spot, pale-margined below, as large as the eye; young specimens are profusely mottled, like young Rock Bass; very old specimens from the lakes are dark olive green above, sides greenish and brassy, with blotches of pale blue and bright coppery red, the red predominating; belly bright brassy yellow, profusely mottled with bright red; lower jaw chiefly yellow; iris bright red; opercular spot short, as large as eye, black, bordered below with copper-color; 3 or 4 wide dark red bands radiating backward from across cheeks and opercles; separated by narrow pale blue interspaces; upper fins barred with black, orange and blue, the former color predominating. Length 8 to 12 inches.

A big, hearty, voracious fellow, the War-mouth lives in the deep pools under the logs, and is the terror of the minnows and chubs. The species is common in all the lowland streams from North Carolina to Texas, and then northward into the Great Lakes, but it reaches its greatest abundance in the South. In size, color and habits, he is the duplicate of his cousin the Red-Eye or Rock Bass, and as a game-fish, is equally interesting.