Xyrichtys martinicensis

Common Name

Rosy Razorfish

Year Described

Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1840


Dorsal Fin: IX, 12
Anal Fin: III, 12
Pectoral Fin: 12
Lateral Line Scales: 19-22 (anterior) + 5-6 (posterior)
Gill Rakers: 21-25 total
Caudal Rays: 14 principal

Body elongate and compressed. Forehead profile steep and convex. Mouth oblique and terminal. Upper jaw with a pair of enlarged canines flanked with smaller canines. Edges of preopercle and opercle smooth. Scales large and cover body. Head almost unscaled except for a few near upper opercle and on nape. Fins naked except for 2-3 rows on base of caudal fin. Dorsal fin long and low with the origin well forward (almost above eye). First two dorsal spines not different in flexibility from rest (juveniles with anterior fin not raised). Anal fin origin under last dorsal spine. Pelvic fin extends past anus, especially in males. Caudal fin truncate. Lateral line in two portions: the first arched and ending under 10th dorsal ray and the second short and straight on caudal peduncle.


Terminal Phase: body salmon, pale brown to purplish with blue-green scale centers forming a reticulated pattern. Body darkens posteriorly. Head yellowish with faint blue and orange lines under the eye and on the cheek. Pectoral base black with red and blue-green markings around it. Dorsal fin reddish with faint pale scrawling. Anal and caudal fin pale with faint lines. Eye red and blue. Initial Phase: Body ranges from pale gray to salmon to olive green. Scale edges paler forming a reticulated pattern. Pattern can pale or darken with mood displaying body bands. A dark bar on cheek flanked by pearly white bars (one right behind eye and one edging opercle). Belly with a large pearly blotch and fine white lines. Base of pectoral fin black to reddish. Fins range from pale to dark reddish. Juvenile: Whitish with a red to red-brown stripe from eye to tail. Edges of fins reddish.


Maximum size of terminal males to 150mm SL.


Shallow (5-40m) sandy plains and seagrass beds.


S. Florida to the southern Caribbean, including the Gulf of Mexico. Also Bermuda.


Randall, J.E. 1965. A review of the razorfish genus Hemipteronotus (Labridae) of the Atlantic Ocean. Copeia 1965 (4), 487-501.

Other Notes

Most similar to Xyrichtys incandescens but the terminal male coloration is quite different and X. martinicensis is not found off Brazil.