This fish inhabits the basins of the Black, Azov and Caspian Seas. It prefers shallow water bodies with abundant aquatic vegetation. It feeds on insect larvae, crustaceans, mollusks, and can also eat fish eggs and aquatic plants. The body of the fish is covered with small bony plates. On the back there are 8 to 11 separate prickles, bent in different directions. Its back is olive green, the sides are light-colored. Adult fish can reach 7 cm in length.