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Common name: Razor Fish

Scientific name: Aeoliscus strigatus

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Osteichthyes

Order: Syngnathiformes

Family: Centriscidae

Genus: Aeoliscus

Species: A. strigatus


I bet you haven’t heard of a razor fish, not very many people have. The razor fish is not a very common animal, that’s why most people do not know what it looks like. When you see a razor fish from the front, it looks thin and skinny. When you look at it from the side it looks wide. The body of Aeoliscus strigatus is covered with thin, transparent bony plates, scale like extensions on its body to protect it. The razor fish has one long spine running down its body and two small spines at the end. It has a razor-like belly. Two of its fins (dorsal and tail) are located under its spines. This fish can be identified by its hinged spine. The snout is long and slender. Like its relative, the seahorse, it has a small toothless mouth. The coloration of this fish can range from many colors. Their color depends on their environment, if they live in seagrass they will be greenish yellow. There is also a pattern printed on it so it can blend in with sea urchins. The max size of the razorfish is 15 cm long.


Their habitat ranges from Tanzania to Australia. These fish travel in schools. Some show up along the shores or swim in lagoons. Some reasons razorfish have been surviving are: do to their ability to camouflage and their razor-like bellies. Both of those things protect them from predators. Razorfish eat tiny crustaceans. They also eat zooplankton and smaller fish. Sometimes they eat mollusks in the larvae stage. Also, they got their other name shrimp fish, from all of the shrimp they eat.


They don’t have much competition, but the little competition they have is small fish of their size that eat similar food. Many of their adaptations allow them to compete. Some of the adaptations are camouflage and good vertical swim. Shrimpfish don’t have many enemies. Their few enemies are large fish. These fish aren’t attacked that often. They avoid occasional attacks by diving into sandy patches and camouflaging near sea urchins. Their blade like belly enables them to slice through sand and swim away in case they are in danger of getting caught.


As I read about this animal, many interesting facts caught my attention. Its color depends on the environment. It has no teeth and it swallows food. I was also impressed by its ability to camouflage. The most interesting fact is that it looks thin from the front but wide from the side. Razorfish are good aquarium pets. When I first heard of a razorfish, I thought this animal would be a dangerous predator, but I learned a lot and found out that this fish isn’t dangerous at all. I hope you learned something about razorfish too.


Author Simrit S.

Published: 02/2009


Sources: Encyclopedia of the Aquatic World Volume 6 Newt and salamander- Piranha and relatives Encyclopedia of Fishes


Photo Credit: David Harasti

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