Griffiths' Razorfish, Iniistius griffithsi Randall 2007

Other Names: Griffiths’ Razor Fish

A presumed female Griffiths' Razorfish, Iniistius griffithsi, in Loky Bay, northern Madagascar, on a clean sand bottom at 8 m, March 2006. Source: Gerald R. Allen, in Randall 2007 Iniistius griffithsi, a new razorfish (Perciformes: Labridae) from Mauritius. Smithiana Bulletin 7: Fig. 3. License: All rights reserved

A pale greyish deep-bodied razorfish becoming whitish below, with 1-6 small blue-edged black spots clustered on the upper side above the pectoral-fin tip, an elongate reddish-brown patch centred just below the midline on the caudal peduncle, and vertical blue lines on the gill cover. Some individuals (possibly males) have a broad oblique pale blue band containing many small black spots from high on the nape to above the gill cover.
Griffiths' Razorfish occurs at the Australian territory of Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean

Species of the genus Iniistius have highly compressed bodies and a steep forehead with a firm knife-like anterior edge - enabling them to easily dive into the sand when threatened.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Iniistius griffithsi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2018,

Griffiths' Razorfish, Iniistius griffithsi Randall 2007

More Info


Known from the Australian Territory of Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indian Ocean. Inhabits open sandy areas, diving into the sand when threatened and to sleep at night.


Dorsal fin IX, 12; Anal fin III, 12; Pectoral fin 12; Principal caudal rays 12, uppermost unbranched, upper procurrent caudal rays 6, lower procurrent caudal rays 5; Gill rakers 19-20; Lateral line scales 19-20 + 5-6; Vertebrae  25.
Body deep, depth 2.5-2.6 in SL; dorsal profile of snout nearly vertical; dorsal-fin origin above posterior edge of the orbit, first two spines slender and flexible, the first slightly longer, 2.45-2.55 in HL; space between second and third dorsal-fin spines more than twice that between first and second spines; cheek naked except for curved oblique row of 6 small scales from behind to below eye; 1 or 2 small scales dorsoanteriorly on the opercle.


Pale grey, scale edges dorsally on body grey-brown; head grey-brown, operculum suffused with orange, with vertical blue bands; a broad oblique pale blue band containing numerous small black spots from interorbital space to above opercle; one to several black spots, edged in pale blue, on side of body above tip of pectoral fin; a dusky streak below posterior end of maxilla and lower lip; orangish patch on side of caudal peduncle, each scale with a pale blue spot; median fins bluish grey; pectoral fins orange.


The three type specimens of Iniistius griffithsi were caught by handline from 120 m off Mauritius. Despite their relatively small size, fishes of the genus Iniistius are highly esteemed as food fishes. They are often consumed by the fishermen themselves, therefore not often found in markets (Randall 2007).


The species is named griffithsi for the collector, Jeremy Griffiths.

Species Citation

Iniistius griffithsi Randall 2007, Smithiana Bulletin 7: 10, figs. 1-3. Type locality: Mauritius, south coast, 0.5 km south of mouth of Riviére des Anguilles, about 1 km offshore from point at 20°31.2’S, 57°33’E, 120 m.


Bray, D.J. 2017

Griffiths' Razorfish, Iniistius griffithsi Randall 2007


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Randall, J.E. 2007. Iniistius griffithsi, a new razorfish (Perciformes: Labridae) from Mauritius. Smithiana Bulletin 7: 9-13. PDF available

Randall, J.E. 2013. Seven new species of labrid fishes (Coris, Iniistius, Macropharyngodon, Novaculops, and Pteragogus) from the western Indian Ocean. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 7: 1-43. Download PDF

Russell, B. 2010. Iniistius griffithsi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187657A8592923. Downloaded on 16 January 2017.

Quick Facts

Biology:Able to change sex

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:5-120 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:17 cm TL

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