Young Chinese gold stripe sharks normally possess brown bodies bearing three dark-colored slanting bands. During the breeding season, adult males are distinguished from adult females by their red coloration. Adult females are of dark purple color with a broad and vertical reddish area along the body. Juveniles of the Chinese high-fin banded sharks are also characterized by high and triangular dorsal finnage that extends up to the rear of the anal fin. The adult appearance is far less distinctive, as they are elongated in shape without the very high dorsal fin. The thick and fleshy lips bear small papillae without barbels. They have a single row of pharyngeal teeth that have comb-like arrangements.