Jointed Razorfish, Aeoliscus strigatus (Günther 1861)

Other Names: Coral Shrimpfish, Jointed Razor-fish, Razor Fish, Razorfish, Shrimpfish, Striped Shrimpfish

Jointed Razorfish, Aeoliscus strigatus, in West Bali, Indonesia, November 2016. Source: Francois Libert / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


The remarkable Jointed Razorfish has a rigid ‘razor-thin’ body encased in transparent 'armour', a long pointed snout and a jointed dorsal-fin spine. They are yellowish-brown to pale green on the back, and silvery on the sides, with a dark mid-lateral stripe along the body. The first dorsal-fin spine is 'jointed' or hinged and often held at an angle to the body. Jointed Razorfish  often swim in large synchronised schools, and seek refuge amongst coral branches or sea urchin spines.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2024, Aeoliscus strigatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 May 2024,

Jointed Razorfish, Aeoliscus strigatus (Günther 1861)

More Info


Tropical Indo-West Pacific, Known in Australian waters from the tip of Cape York, northern Queensland to northern NSW. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west Pacific, from East Africa to Australia and north to southern Japan. 

Forms schools in sheltered bays and lagoons. Individuals swim vertically in a head-down position over seagrass beds, and invertebrates including Acropora corals, gorgonians, black corals, sea whips and Diadema sea urchins.


Dorsal fin III, 10; Anal fin 12; Pectoral fin 11–12; Pelvic fin 4.

Body elongate, extremely compressed, encased in protective transparent sutured plates; ventral edge very compressed, 'sharp'; interorbital space striated, convex, longtitudinal groove absent; snout long and tubular; mouth small, teeth absent; lateral line absent. Caudal and soft dorsal fins situated ventrally; spinous dorsal fin hinged, and positioned at end of body where the caudal fin is usually found.


To 15 cm.


Colour varies with habitat,ranging from a silvery greenish- to yellowish-brown, or quite pale. Individuals living amongst seagrasses have tend to be more greenish-yellow body with a diffused longitudinal stripe from the snout to the tail fin. Those in sandy or rubble habitats are often paler with a black longitudinal stripe.


Feeds mostly on crustacean zooplankton, including copepods and gammaridean amphipods.


Oviparous, sexes separate, fertilisation external. Eggs and larvae are pelagic, juveniles settle at about 20 mm in length, often within the spines of the sea urchin Diadema.


The Jointed Razorfish may be taken as bycatch in commerical fisheries. Although this species is collected for the aquarium industry, individuals are difficult to keep in captivity.


Not evaluated.


Razorfish usually swim in a head-down position, moving in the direction of their dorsal surface.

Similar Species

Jointed Razorfish differ from members of the genus Centriscus in having a jointed, versus a rigid first dorsal-fin spine. The other species of Aeoliscus, A. punctulatus, occurs in the Western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, and differs in having small black spots over body.


Aeoliscus is derived from Aeolius, a region from Asia Minor and Aeolus, the Greek god of winds. The specific name is from the Latin strigatus (= striped) in reference to the dark stripe along the side.

Species Citation

Amphisile strigata Günther 1861, Cat. Fish. Brit. Mus. 3: 528. Type locality: Java, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2024


Atlas of Living Australia

Jointed Razorfish, Aeoliscus strigatus (Günther 1861)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. 292 p.

Allen, G.R. 2009. Field Guide to Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-East Asia. Welshpool : Western Australian Museum Edn. 4, pp. 287.

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

Cameron, C. & Pollom, R. 2016. Aeoliscus strigatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T65135062A67618768. Accessed on 21 May 2024.

Fritzsche, R.A. & Thiesfeld, K.G. 1999. Centriscidae: Shrimpfishes (razorfishes), pp. 2281-2282 in Carpenter, K.E.  & Niem, V.E.  Species identification guide for fisheries purposes. The living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Bony fishes part 2 (Mugilidae to Carangidae). FAO, Rome.

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp.

Günther, A. 1861. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the acanthopterygian fishes in the collection of the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 3 586 pp. See ref at BHL

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, pipefishes and their relatives. Chorleywood, UK : TMC Publishing 240 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 2009. Seahorses and their relatives. Seaford, Australia : Aquatic Photographics 331 pp.

Leis, J.M. & Rennis, D.S. 2000. Centriscidae (Razorfish). pp. 203-206 in Leis, J.M. & Carson-Ewart, B.M. (eds). The larvae of Indo-Pacific coastal fishes. An identification guide to marine fish larvae. Fauna Malesiana Handbooks Leiden : Brill Vol. 2 870 pp.

Mohr, E. 1937. Revision der Centriscidae (Acanthoptergii, Centrisciformes). Dana Reports 13: 1-69 figs 1-33 pls 1-2

Okiyama, M. 1988. An atlas of the early stage fishes in Japan. Tokai University Press, Tokyo. 1157 pp. [In Japanese]

Randall,  J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. University of Hawai’i Press Honolulu.  

Randall,  J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Publishing Bathurst.

Whitley, G.P. & Allan, J. 1958. The Sea-horse and its Relatives. Melbourne : Georgian House 84 pp. 25 figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37280003

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:2-42 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:14 cm TL

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