This subfamily has been delineated based on the characteristics of the operculum and the radula. The shell is wide in the middle and tapers at both ends, making it fusiform to biconic. The size of the shell varies in length between 5 mm and 85 mm. Its color is white or brown, covered with subdued shades of brown, orange, red or purple markings. The aperture is broadly oval to almost round and is of variable size. Contrary to the other Muricidae, the siphonal canal, the semi-tubular extension of the aperture, is of moderate length. Like the other murex shells, each convex whorl shows a variable number (four or more) of more or less prominent varices (a thickened axial ridge in the shell), which, in turn, show foliaceous or spinose projections. The operculum is the same as in the subfamily Muricinae. It is unguiculate, thickened at the margin and depressed and annulate in the middle. The rachiglossan radula has in each row a three-dimensional rachidian tooth with a raised central cusp and two lateral teeth, as in the subfamily Ocenebrinae.