Whiteblotch Razorfish, Iniistius aneitensis (Günther 1862)

Other Names: Pale Razorfish, White Blotch Razorfish, White-blotch Razorfish, Whitepatch Razorfish, Yellowblotch Razorfish

A Whiteblotch Razorfish, Iniistius aneitensis, at North Rinca Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia, April 2015. Source: zsispeo / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A razor wrasse with a large white patch on the side. Males have a faint yellow patch in front of the white patch, and the patch is darker in females. Juveniles have three dark bands on the body that reduce in size with growth becoming one to three dark spots along the back.
Razorfish live in a harem defended by a single large male. 
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:
Dianne J. Bray, Iniistius aneitensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/293

Whiteblotch Razorfish, Iniistius aneitensis (Günther 1862)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Holmes Reef, Queensland, and Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific from Zanzibar to the Hawaiian Islands. 
Inhabits open, clean, sandy areas in reef lagoons and on seaward slopes at depths of 6-91 m. When threatened during the day, they dive into the sand, and also sleep there at night to avoid predators.


Razorfish are protogynous sequential hermaphrodites (sex-change from female to male) and live in a harem defended by a single large male.

Species Citation

Novacula aneitensis Günther, 1862, Cat. Fish. Brit. Mus. 4: 176. Type locality: Aneiteum, Vanuatu.


Dianne J. Bray

Whiteblotch Razorfish, Iniistius aneitensis (Günther 1862)


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

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1979. The Fishes of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Aust. Natl. Parks Wldlf. Ser. Spec. Publ. 2. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service 81 pp. 15 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp.

Günther, A. 1862. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the Acanthopterygii Pharyngognathi and Anacanthini in the collection of the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 4 534 pp.

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Randall, J.E. & Earle, J.L. 2002. Review of the Hawaiian razorfishes of the genus Iniistius (Perciformes: Labridae). Pacific Science 56(4): 389-402.

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384176

Behaviour:Dives into the sand when alarmed

Biology:Able to change sex

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:6-91 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:24 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map