Razor Fish (xyrichthys, Val.), an acanthop-terygian genus belonging to the family of cyclo-labridoe. The body is compressed and covered with large scales, the lateral line interrupted; the profile is almost vertical, the forehead trenchant, and the eyes high up; the sharpness of the head is not owing to the interparietal crest as in coryphoena (the dolphin of sailors), but to the ethmoid and intermaxillaries growing directly downward, the lower jaw being horizontal and of ordinary length; the cheeks are scaleless, and the snout smooth and blunt; the dorsal is long and of uniform height; the teeth are in one row, conical, largest in the middle; the palate and tongue are smooth, but the pharynx is furnished with small and pavement-like teeth; the intestinal tube is simple, without stomachal dilatation and pancreatic caeca; the air bladder is large, pointed in front. The type of the genus is the razor fish of the Mediterranean (X. cultratus, Val.); it is about 8 in. long, reddish, variously striped with bluish; its flesh is highly esteemed as a delicate food; it lives solitary, on sandy bottoms near the shores, feeding on such fish and mollusks as its very small mouth enables it to swallow.
About a dozen other species, of the same size, are found in the East and West Indies, among the Pacific islands, and on the coast of South America, where their flesh is eaten; in some the three anterior rays of the dorsal are detached and far forward, forming two dorsals.
Mediterranean Razor Fish (Xyrichthys cultratus).