school of razorfish (#69 , added 14 April '98)

One of my favorite night-dive spots at
Batangas, Philippines is a spot we call the "eel grass" where many unusual forms of marine life are found (see the snake eel photos in gallery III). Certainly these razorfish, also known as shrimpfish, qualify for the "unusual" category.

Though occasionally seen during the day, I could always count on seeing a school of five-inch long razorfish on a night dive at the "eel grass" dive spot. Usually the first clue that I was approaching a school was the shimmering reflection off their silver bodies as my dive light illuminated them from a distance. The size of their schools range from only a few to hundreds. The light blinds them, but they know you're there, and automatically bunch together in their defensive vertical formation posture, hoping to blend in with the tall sea grass or whip corals. They bob up and down as they swim, bumping into each other in the confusion. Their bodies are very narrow, stiff as wood, and shaped like a knife blade. One look at the position of their small fins tells you they are well-adapted to swim head-down, instead of in the conventional horizontal manner like most fish.

Aeoliscus strigatus

another view-- a pair of razorfish