Fivefinger Razorfish

Iniistius Pentadactylus
Fivefinger Razorfish - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Iniistius Pentadactylus
Other names Fivefinger Wrasse, Red Spot Razor Wrasse, Red Spot Razorfish
Size Up to 25 cm (9.8 in)
Weight Up to .30 kg (.66 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Shallow coastal waters amongst sandy areas & seagrass beds
Depth Range 4 - 30 m (98 ft)
Fivefinger Razorfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Fivefinger Razorfish is a species of wrasse found in tropical and subtropical waters along the east coast of Australia. Primarily in Queensland on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • They have a greyish appearance and a highly compressed body, featuring a steep forehead with a firm knife-like anterior edge. This unique feature allows the species to easily dive into the sand when threatened. The fish has several overlapping red spots along the lateral line behind the head, which may appear black underwater, and is often marked with a brown blotch just behind the pectoral-fin tip.
  • Females of this species lack the red spots along the lateral line, and instead feature a large white patch with red scale margins on the lower side.
  • They are a carnivorous fish and feed on small crustaceans, molluscs, and other small fish.
  • The Fivefinger Razorfish are a sequential hermaphrodite, meaning that it begins life as a female and later changes sex to become a male.
  • They are known to form large spawning aggregations, where thousands of individuals gather to spawn in a single location.
  • This species has a complex social system, with dominant males controlling territories and harems of females.
  • The species spawns throughout the year, with peak activity in spring and summer. After fertilisation, the eggs develop into pelagic larvae that drift with ocean currents before settling into coral reef habitats as juveniles. The species has a slow growth rate, with individuals taking several years to reach maturity.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 10 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Fivefinger razorfish are often caught as bycatch for anglers targeting other species. They are typically a catch and release species. They are more know for their striking colours and are a popular species for aquariums and to observe in the wild for snorkelers and divers.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Iniistius

Species: Iniistius Pentadactylus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Fivefinger razorfish in Australia is listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that the species is not considered to be in danger of extinction in the wild. However, they are managed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) under the Commonwealth Fisheries Act 1991.

Fish Taste Quality

Fivefinger razorfish are edible but due to their small size are not targeted for consumption. They are considered bycatch and often released.

Taste Rating: na

How to catch
Fivefinger Razorfish

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Prawns, Squid, Worms

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Not targeted

Fivefinger Razorfish
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 200 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None