Smooth Razorfish, Centriscus cristatus (De Vis 1885)

Other Names: Smooth Razor-fish, Water Shrimpfish

A Smooth Razorfish, Centriscus cristatus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-Noncommercial


The Smooth Razorfish is the largest of all the razorfishes.

Cite this page as:
Vanessa J. Thompson & Dianne J. Bray, Centriscus cristatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Mar 2024,

Smooth Razorfish, Centriscus cristatus (De Vis 1885)

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Widespread in the tropical Western Pacific. REcorded in Australian waters from the Houtman Albrolhos (28º49´S) to Trimouille Island (20º21´S), WA, and from the Gulf of Carpentaria (140º12´E) to Noosa Heads (26º23´S), QLD; a benthic inshore species inhabitatng estuaries, seawhip fields and seagrass beds.


Body elongate, extremely compressed with a sharp ventral edge; enclosed in protective transparent sutured plates; lateral plate sutures smooth; interorbital space convex with a lateral groove; snout long, tubular, mouth small, teeth absent; lateral line absent.

Caudal and soft dorsal fins placed postero-ventrally; spinous dorsal posterior in position; dorsal spine rigid, unjointed.


Total length 30 cm.


Body silvery with a dusky to yellow mid-lateral stripe; adults with several blue bars along upper sides.


Razorfishes feed on tiny planktonic crustaceans, especially amphipods and mysids.


Eggs and larvae are planktonic.


Although the species is of no interest to fisheries, it is collected for the aquarium industry.


Similar Species

Species Citation

Amphisile cristata De Vis 1885. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. (1)9(4): 872. Type locality: Noosa Beach, Queensland


Vanessa J. Thompson & Dianne J. Bray

Smooth Razorfish, Centriscus cristatus (De Vis 1885)


De Vis, C.W. 1885. New fishes in the Queensland Museum. No. 5. Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. (1)9(4): 869–887.

Fritzsche, R.A. & Thiesfeld, K.G. 1999. Families Aulostomidae, Fistulariidae, Macrorhamphosidae, Centriscidae. pp. 2277-2282 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. 4, 2069–2790 pp.

Hoese D.F., Bray D.J., Paxton J.R. & Allen G.R. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley P.L. & Wells A. (eds) Zoological catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia Part 1, pp xxiv 1-670; Part 2, pp xxi 671-1472; Part 3 pp xxi 1473-2178

Kuiter, R.H. 2009. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. Aquatic Photographics, Seaford, Australia.

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels- Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Zoonetics, Australia. 302 pp.

Whitley, G.P. & Allan, J. 1958. The sea-horse and its relatives. The Griffin Press, Adelaide, Australia.

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CAAB Code:37280002

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