Blue Razorfish, Iniistius pavo Click to enlarge image
A juvenile Blue Razorfish at a depth of 23 m, Yangge Lo Gam Passage, Raja Ampat, West Papua, 1 December 2015. Image: Jane Barron
© Jane Barron

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    pavo
    Genus
    Iniistius
    Family
    Labridae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 35 cm in length.

Introduction

Blue Razorfish The species lives over sand near coral reefs. When disturbed it uses its keeled forehead to dive headfirst into the sand.



Identification

Adult Blue Razorfish are grey dorsally, yellow-white ventrally, have three broad indistinct bars laterally, and a blue-rimmed black spot on the upper side of the body. The colouration of juveniles is variable. They usually have more distinct dark bars than the adults and often have two spots on the soft dorsal fin. The species was previously named Xyrichthys pavo.

Habitat

The species lives over sand near coral reefs. When disturbed it uses its keeled forehead to dive headfirst into the sand.

Distribution

It is known from north-western Australia and from northern Queensland to southern New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Other behaviours and adaptations

Juveniles appear to mimic dead drifting leaves. They often hold the first two dorsal spines forward over the head.

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.