Fivefinger Razorfish, Iniistius pentadactylus (Linnaeus 1758)

Other Names: Fivefinger Wrasse, Red-spot Razor Wrasse, Red-spot Razorfish

A terminal phase (male) Fivefinger Razorfish, Iniistius pentadactylus, at Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia, 2013. Source: Jim Greenfield / FishBase. License: All rights reserved

A greyish razorfish with several overlapping red spots (appear black underwater) along the lateral line behind the head, and often a brown blotch just behind the pectoral-fin tip. Females lack the spots along the lateral line and have a large white patch with red scale margins on the lower side.  
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 pentadactylus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 May 2024,

Fivefinger Razorfish, Iniistius pentadactylus (Linnaeus 1758)

More Info


Occurs on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and at the Australian Territory of Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical Indo-west Pacific from the Red Sea and East Africa to eastern Australia, Papua New Guinea and north to southern Japan.
Inhabits open sandy areas, sandy slopes and habitats with some seagrass and algae. During the day, razorfish dive into the sand when threatened, and also sleep there at night.


Dorsal fin IX, 12; anal fin III, 12; Pectoral fin 12; lateral line scales 20-22 + 5-6.
Greatest body depth 2.9-3.3 in SL; anterior dorsal fin not elevated, first two spines separated from the rest of the fin by a deep notch. 


Feeds mostly on hard-shelled prey such as crustaceans and molluscs.


Males defend a territory containing numerous females.

Species Citation

Coryphaena pentadactyla Linnaeus 1758, Systema Naturae 1: 261. Type locality: India.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Fivefinger Razorfish, Iniistius pentadactylus (Linnaeus 1758)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Clark, E. 1983. Sand-diving behavior and territoriality of the Red Sea razorfish, Xyrichtys pentadactylus. Bulletin of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries 9: 225-242.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. 

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 2. Fusiliers - Dragonets, Caesionidae - Callionymidae. Australia : Zoonetics, pp. 304-622.

Lieske, E. & Myers, R.F. 1994. Collins Pocket Guide. Coral reef fishes. Indo-Pacific and Caribbean including the Red Sea. Harper Collins Publishers, New York, USA.

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna tria Naturae, secundem Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentis, Synonymis, Locis. Tom.1 Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii 824 pp. 

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. A comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia. Guam : Coral Graphics vi 330 pp. 192 pls.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

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., Yeeting, B. & Stockwell, B. 2010. Iniistius pentadactylus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187411A8528537. Downloaded on 23 October 2016.

Westneat, M.W. 2001. Labridae. pp. 3381-3467 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384178


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:4-30 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Max Size:25 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map