Keelhead Razorfish, Iniistius jacksonensis (Ramsay 1881)

Other Names: Keel-head, Keelhead Wrasse, Keel-headed Parrotfish, Keelheaded Wrasse, Purple-spotted Wrasse

Keelhead Razorfish, Iniistius jacksonensis. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

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 jacksonensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 12 Dec 2018,

Keelhead Razorfish, Iniistius jacksonensis (Ramsay 1881)

More Info


North of Fraser Island, Queensland, to at least Sydney, New South Wales, and at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Inhabits sandy areas, diving into the sand when threatened.

Species Citation

Novacula jacksonensis Ramsay 1881, Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. 1 6(2): 198. Type locality: Manly Beach, NSW.


Dianne J. Bray


Australian Faunal Directory

Keelhead Razorfish, Iniistius jacksonensis (Ramsay 1881)


Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170. (as Xyrichtys jacksonensis)

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762.(as Xyrichtys jacksonensis)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 
Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls. 

Pollard, J. (ed.) 1980. G.P. Whitley's Handbook of Australian Fishes. North Sydney : Jack Pollard Publishing Pty Ltd 629 pp. 

Ramsay, E.P. 1881. Description of a new labroid fish of the genus Novacula from Port Jackson. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 6(2): 198-199.

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

Russell, B. 2010. Iniistius jacksonensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187814A8635865. Downloaded on 02 October 2016.

Thomson, J.M. 1978. A Field Guide to the Common Sea & Estuary Fishes of Non-tropical Australia. Sydney : Collins 144 pp.

Waite, E.R. 1899. Scientific results of the trawling expedition of H.M.C.S. Thetis off the coast of New South Wales. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 4: 1-132 figs 1-10 pls 1-31 (as Xyrichthys jacksonensis)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384012

Behaviour:Dives into sand when threatened

Biology:Able to change sex

Depth:10-200 m

Max Size:17.5 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map