Rosy Razorfish Identification

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The rosy razorfish lives its life swimming along the sandy bottom of shallow reefs, usually near coral heads or seal grass beds. Look for 3- to 4-inch fish that have thin bodies and sloped heads with help from a scuba diving instructor in this free video on fish identification and marine life.

Part of the Video Series: Caribbean Fish
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The marine creature we're going to identify now is the rosy razorfish. The rosy razorfish is an odd sort of fish. It lives its life swimming along the sandy bottom of the shallow reefs, usually near coral heads or gorgonians or in seal grass beds. It can curl up its body to look like a seagrass blade or a piece of detritus floating along the bottom of the reef. But when it feels threatened the rosy razorfish dives headfirst into the sand where it hides very completely in the sand, until it feels the threat has passed. Rosy razorfish are small fish, only three to four and a half inches in length, with a maximum size of six inches. They have a long body and almost a uniform height the entire length of their body. And it's a thin body, and its deeply sloped head, obviously the source of the name razorfish. The rosy razorfish has a straight tail margin, the males and females have distinctive color patterns. Male rosy razorfish have a dark area at the base of their pectoral fin. Their color is a mix of pastel greens, blues and yellows, and their head is usually pale yellow, often with pale bars. Females have a grayish to light rosy colored body. They also often have a dark brown to reddish brown stripes that runs through the length of their body. And commonly have a dark hatch on their gill cover. Rosy razorfish are common in most parts of the tropical Americas, as far north as Bermuda. They generally live in colonies in sandy areas near reefs or seagrass beds. They tend to stay in shallow or reef areas, generally in water shallower than forty-five feet, because they can change the coloration relatively easily and blend in so well with their sandy surroundings, they can be difficult to spot. But once you see one hovering just above the sandy area, look around and you'll probably see many more in that same area. Rosy razorfish feed primarily on shrimp and crabs they find in the sand. But they also eat small fish and mollusks. Rosy razorfish are protogynous hermaphrodites. This means that all fish start out life as females, and turn into males as they mature. During spawning males will gather a harem of females and spawn with several from the harem every day during the breeding season. Eggs are fertilized externally and allowed to drift with the currents until they hatch. That's the rosy razorfish.

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