It has a slim, oval fusiform body, with a smallish mouth and scales covering its face. The eyes are smaller than those of Pagellus bogaraveo and Pagellus acarne. It is silver in colour with a pink tinge, particularly on its back. A typical specimen measures 10-30cm, but it can reach as much as 50cm in length.
The common pandora is a hermaphrodite, spending the first two years of its life as a female, and the third year as a male. It is omnivorous, but mainly feeds on smaller fish and benthic invertebrates.