Lizardfish (Gozo & Malta)



Gozo & MaltaAtlantic Species

Common Name: Lizardfish

Scientific Names: Synodus saurus

Description: A relatively large fish up to 30cm long. As the name suggests the Lizardfish is shaped rather like a plump lizard. For its size it has a very large mouth which is filled with needle-like teeth. Unlike the similarly shaped Weeverfish (46) the mouth does not turn upwards and runs back broadly parallel to the line of the fish. The colour is a sandy brown with darker saddles and very clear blue to turquoise stripes along the body.

Distinctive Features: Large mouth; thin blue to turquoise stripes along the upper body.

Abundance: Solitary. It often lies buried in sand and so is difficult to spot but when looking in this habitat it is reasonably commonly observed (50% of dives).

Habitat & Behaviour: Found in sandy seabed areas, where the fish often burrows into the sand and lies with only its head exposed, though they will also lie out in the open. Burying themselves provides camouflage and may be the prelude to feeding on other fish. Their sediment habitats are distinctive and you can easily learn the best places to look.

Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers: They can be wary of snorkellers diving from the surface and may bury themselves when approached, not surprising as the author has seen them caught by spearfishing. They are more tolerant of divers.

Other Names: Bluestriped lizardfish

Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Russell & Gill Bennett
Video: Bob Earll & Julia Jagoditsch

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