Razor Wrasse (species: Cymolutes torquatus) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Cymolutes torquatus
Razor Wrasse

©Lloyd Shepherd: Cymolutes torquatus in seagrass at Casuarina Beach, Lizard Island.

©Lloyd Shepherd: Cymolutes torquatus in seagrass at Casuarina Beach, Lizard Island.

©Kasey Barnes: Cymolutes torquatus in the Lizard Island lagoon.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Labridae
Genus Cymolutes
Species Cymolutes torquatus



Distinguishing features

Mainly grey/brown, with darker lateral blotches and stripes. Dark patterning is variable between individuals, and context-dependent (the colours were seen to change as a diver approached). Found on sand flats or above small piles of coral rubble, in depths of 1–10m (could be deeper too – we didn’t check!). Very wary of humans. When approached, often dives headfirst into the sand, quickly burying itself to a depth of around 10 cm. (Contributed by Tim Gordon).


  • Up to 20 cm (length according to Allen and Erdmann, 2012)

Depth range

  • From 1 m to 10 m



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Allen and M.V. Erdmann, G.R. (2012). Reef fishes of the East Indies. Volumes I-III in: Reef fishes of the East Indies. Tropical Reef Research, Perth, Australia. LIRS catalog number 90162.
  • Allen, G., R. Steene, P. Humann and N. Deloach (2003). Reef fish identification: Tropical Pacific New World Publications Inc., Jacksonville, FL, USA.

Other references

  • Elliott, J.P. and D.R. Bellwood (2003). Alimentary tract morphology and diet in three coral reef fish families, Journal of Fish Biology, 63: 1598-1609. LIRS catalog number 876.