Knife Wrasse

Cymolutes Praetextatus
Knife Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Cymolutes Praetextatus
Other names Knife Razorfish, Knife Razor Wasse, Knifefish, Razor Wrasse
Size Up to 30 cm (11.87 in)
Weight Up to .5 kg (1.1 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Shallow coastal waters amongst sandy & seagrass areas near reefs
Depth Range 1 - 60 m (196 ft)
Knife Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Knife Wrasse is a common species found in the coastal waters of Australia, ranging from Western Australia to Queensland.
  • They have a distinctive appearance, with a narrow, elongated body and a pointed snout. They are generally greyish-green in colour, with a series of vertical stripes along their sides.
  • They typically feed on small crustaceans and other invertebrates, while adults will eat a variety of small fish and invertebrates.
  • Within their habitat they prefer areas with strong currents.
  • The species is known to breed during the summer months, with females laying large egg masses that are guarded by males.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 10 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Snorkeling & Diving

Knife Wrasse are not specifically targeted for recreational fishing, but they are sometimes caught incidentally as bycatch. Observing Knife Wrasse in the wild for snorkelers and divers can be a rewarding experience, but they are a relatively elusive species that can be difficult to spot.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Cymolutes

Species: Cymolutes Praetextatus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Knife Wrasse in Australia is considered to be “Data Deficient” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that there is not enough information available to determine the species’ conservation status, and further research is needed to understand population trends and distribution.

How to catch
Knife Wrasse

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

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

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

Popularity: Not targeted - Bycatch

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon, Seagrass Beds

Danger: None

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