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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.