Keelhead Razorfish, Iniistius jacksonensis (Ramsay 1881)

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

A Keelhead Razorfish, Iniistius jacksonensis, on the Gold Coast Seaway, southern Queensland, January 2015. Source: Ian Banks / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

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. 2019, Iniistius jacksonensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024,

Keelhead Razorfish, Iniistius jacksonensis (Ramsay 1881)

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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, Port Jackson, New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Keelhead Razorfish, Iniistius jacksonensis (Ramsay 1881)


Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 DOI: 10.3853/j.0067-1975.30.1976.287 Open access (as Hemipteronotus sp.)

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)

Fukui, Y. 2019. Redescription of Iniistius jacksonensis (Ramsay 1881) and description of Iniistius opalus sp. nov. from northern Australia (Perciformes: Labridae). Ichthyological Research 66(2): 258-268. pp.

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)

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (as Xyrichtys jacksonensis)

Kuiter, R.H. 2010. Labridae fishes: wrasses. Seaford, Victoria, Australia : Aquatic Photographics 398 pp. (as Xyrichtys jacksonensis)

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. See ref at BHL

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

Randall, J.E. , Earle, J.L. & Robertson, D.R. 2002. Iniistius auropunctatus, a new razorfish (Perciformes: Labridae) from the Marquesas Islands. Cybium 26(2): 93-98

Russell, B. 2010. Iniistius jacksonensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187814A8635865. Downloaded on 09 January 2019.

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 Novaculichthys jacksonensis)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384012

Behaviour:Dives into sand when threatened


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:10-200 m

Max Size:17.5 cm TL


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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map