Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Xyrichtys novacula, Pearly Razorfish, Pearly Razorfish Wrasse

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

forehead v steep
IP grey/pink, belly - bright white blotch
TP pink, head & body thin blue bars
juv: white + 5 dark bars (front D & body)

Xyrichtys novacula (Linnaeus, 1758)

Pearly Razorfish, Pearly Razorfish Wrasse

Head and body oblong, strongly compressed; head profile steep, almost vertical in adults, snout with a fleshy longitudinal keel at front; eye small, on upper ½ of head; mouth protrusible, opens at front, thick lips; rear of top jawbone not visible on cheek; toothed grinding plates in throat; both jaws with a pair of large canines at front, without rear canine tooth; 18-21 gill rakers; gill membranes fused under throat; dorsal fin II (1st 2 spines in a partly separate finlet over eye, elevated in juvenile) +VII, 12, spines regularly spaced, not obviously notched between spiny and soft parts; a juvenile with nal fin III, 13; tail fin slightly rounded; pelvics pointed with small filaments in adult; lateral line in 2 sections, rear section on tail base, with 6 pored scales; no scales on cheek, opercle or lower jaw or on bases of dorsal and anal fins.

Juvenile: pale grey, 4 irregular brown bars on body and tail base, another on head through front of dorsal fin. Female: pale grey to pinkish brown, distinct pearly marks on scales of side of belly. Male: pinkish brown above, paler below; lower head with thin blue bars; each body scale with a thin blue bar; may have a diagonal reddish to brownish bar on side behind pectoral fin.

Size: 25 cm.

Habitat: benthic on fine sand.

Depth: 5-110 m.

E & W Atlantic; South Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 25
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 110