Pearly Razorfish or Cleaver Wrasse – Xyrichtys novacula

The Pearly Razorfish, also known as Cleaver Wrasse, is a species in the family of the Labridae and thus belongs to the superclass of the bony fish.

Pearly Razorfish Cleaver Wrasse Xyrichtys novacula Osteichthyes bony fish diving canary islands species atlantic ocean
Pearly Razorfish – Xyrichtys novacula


The body of Xyrichtys novacula is elongated and laterally, strongly compressed. The Cleaver Wrasse has a bright pink colour, the back, tail and fin are coloured more intensely. All over its body are luminous blue, vertical stripes. Its eyes are orange with black pupils.

It reaches a maximum size of 38cm.

Habitat and Distribution

One finds the Pearly Razorfish over sandy grounds, in depths down to 20m, in winter time also down to 150m.

When diving in the Canaries you can observe it very often, being a little shy and disappearing in the sand if you are too much of a burden.

It is also distributed in the western Atlantic from North Carolina all the way to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. In the east Atlantic, it is seen from the southern coast of Spain, across the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde and São Tomé, all the way to Gabon. The Cleaver Wrasse is also found in the Mediterranean Sea.


Xyrichtys novacula lives solitaire. It feeds on small invertebrates, which it finds in the sand.

In case of danger, it completely disappears in the sand.

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