The Centriscinae (razorfishes or shrimpfishes) are a small group of Indo-Pacific fishes that includes just two genera (Aeoliscus and Centriscus), each with two species. Although this group was formerly treated as a family, Centriscidae, it is now generally treated as a subfamily, Centriscinae, within a more broadly defined Centriscidae that also includes the snipefishes (Macroramphosus) and bellowsfishes (Notopogon) (Eschmeyer and Fricke 2012).
Razorfishes are encased in thin, transparent bony plates that are expansions of the vertebral column. The body is extremely compressed, with a sharp ventral edge (hence the common name "razorfish"). The snout is long and tubular, with a small, toothless mouth. The caudal fin and soft dorsal fin are displaced ventrally, so the spinous dorsal fin is in the usual position of the caudal (tail) fin and the long first dorsal spine is in alignment with the dorsal edge of the body. There is no lateral line. These fishes are usually encountered in aggregations swimming vertically with heads pointed downward. They feed mainly on crustaceans. (Randall 1995)
The Grooved Razorfish (Centriscus scutataus) may reach 15 cm in length. It is found from the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf to the Indo-Malayan region, south to Queensland (Australia) and north to Japan. It occurs over mud or silty sand substrata from less than 5 m to 80 m depth. See Randall (1995) for a technical morphological description. (Randall 1995)
de Lussanet and Muller (2007) examined the efect of the Grooved Razorfish's long snout on feeding kinematics, suggesting that the long snout is an adaptation for reaching prey as fast as possible through a head rotation (which they refer to as "pivot feeding"). In trials, fish typically made capture movements at a rate of 6 to 10 per minute. The next capture movement could start a few seconds after the end of the previous one. The measured prey capture times of 4 to 6 ms for the Grooved Razorfish are among the shortest ever reported for vertebrates.
- de Lussanet, M.H.E. and M. Muller. 2007. The smaller your mouth, the longer your snout: predicting the snout length of Syngnathus acus, Centriscus scutatus and other pipette feeders. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 4: 561–573.
- Eschmeyer, W. N. & R. Fricke (eds.). Catalog of Fishes, electronic version (accessed 12 January 2012).
- Mohr, E. 1937. Revision der Centriscidae (Acanthopterygii, Centrisciformes). Dana Rep., no. 13: 1-69.
- Randall, J.E. Coastal Fishes of Oman. 1995. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.