lizard fish

The lizard fish is used to designate several species of Synodontidae fish. Its name comes from the fact that its head is tapered like that of a lizard.

Description of the lizard fish

The lizardfish is used to designate several species of Synodontidae fish. Its name comes from the fact that its head is tapered like that of a lizard. From the family of aulopiformes, they are small bony fish measuring on average 30 cm but some species can sometimes measure up to 60 cm. Their eyes are placed at the top of their head which allows them to bury themselves partially. They have a mouth raised upwards and furnished with sharp teeth. Their livery differs from one species to another and depends on the environment where they live for a better camouflage. In this species, we record periods of diurnal and nocturnal activities. In the center of their back is a dorsal fin and another smaller one near the tail. They are often confused with the whitefish but what distinguishes them is the receding implantation of the first dorsal fin and the appearance of their face. Like most benthic fish, they do not have a swim bladder.

Lizard fish life style

The lizardfish is a bottom dwelling fish that lives almost completely buried in the sand. It leaves only its eyes visible, it camouflages itself to pounce on any prey that passes near it and even several meters above the bottom. It is a predator that feeds on other fish and invertebrates. It is found on the coasts, in the sandy and sedimentary bottoms of the continental shelf and can sometimes evolve up to 400 m of depth. In this species, it is believed that the migration from the south to the north of the Mediterranean is probably linked to global warming. It is a fearful fish that quickly flees to go underground. It is available in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Channel, North Sea and the Caribbean.

Reproduction of the lizard fish

In this species, the sexes are separated and fertilization is external. The breeding season occurs throughout the spring and summer. In a study carried out in the Azores, it was possible to record an important competition between males during the reproduction period.

Fishing techniques and conservation status of the lizard fish

The lizardfish can be fished in the same way as the whitefish: by baitcasting, by landing, by longline, by support, by drifting, by drifting on the livebait, by drifting with the deadman and by waddling. It can be fished with natural bait or lures. It is an unregulated or minor concern species. Nevertheless, in order not to jeopardize the resource and to avoid problems, it is always prudent to check with local authorities. As a general rule, you must have a fishing card or license, take into account the authorized fishing methods and respect the minimum size and number of catches, which may vary depending on the species and the department. In principle, the reproduction period corresponds to the closing date of fishing for a species. Note that fishing in France is managed by fishing federations, various associations, the National Union of Fishing in France and the ONEMA which replaces the Superior Council of Fishing.

Fearful but a formidable hunter

This fish lives on the sandy bottom up to twenty meters deep. Fearful, the lizard fish does not like to be disturbed, it jumps and moves away from a few meters to escape the intruder, but it is a formidable hunter, buried in the sand it is almost invisible, only its eyes protrude. When a prey presents itself, it observes it, watches it without moving, as soon as it is in range it leaps, throws itself on it at a lightning speed and kills it with its numerous teeth. It is in this way that it can by opportunism attack sometimes young yellow darters. This predator eats mainly fish, crustaceans and cephalopods.


Photo of a buried lizard fish
Photo of a buried lizardfish


The lizardfish is a gonochoric species. It reproduces from spring to summer. Its fertilization is external. The males are often in competition at this period to attract females.

An invasive fish?

With global warming, the large-scaled lizardfish that lives in the eastern Mediterranean (Turkey, Egypt) seems to be moving throughout the Mediterranean. An imbalance that could well have consequences.

3 Facts about Lizard fish

  • Between 1944 and 1946, an American submarine known as the USS Lizardfish was briefly operational. Later, in 1960, it was given to the Italian navy and given the new name Evangelista Torricelli.
  • The Bombay duck is actually a type of lizardfish that lives on the Indian coast and isn’t even a duck at all. It’s unclear exactly where the species’ name came from.
  • Initially, it was believed that the young lizardfish belonged to a whole distinct species because of how they varied from the adults in appearance.

Fishing for and cooking with lizard fish

Although lizardfish are seldom caught commercially, they are occasionally caught recreationally. With a simple hook and line and natural bait like shrimp or squid, many of them may be caught. For larger fish, the lizardfish can be used as bait. Florida and the Gulf of Mexico are both excellent places to go fishing in the United States, particularly for inshore lizardfish.

Although it could need some work to separate the bones from the flesh, the white, flaky edible meat is said to taste well when fried, roasted, or grilled in a variety of cuisines. Fortunately, the fish is completely safe to eat and is not harmful in any manner. Lizardfish may be made into a delectable paste in Japan. Cured surimi is the name of the sort of paste that may be used in many different dishes. For example, to make kamaboko, this pureed surimi paste is shaped into steamed loaves. It frequently comes with dipping sauce.

FAQs  lizard fish (Frequently Asked Questions)


Where can you find lizard fish?

They may be found all around the world in tropical shallow seas.

Are lizardfish edible?

When used in a variety of cuisines, they are believed to be rather good and edible, and the meat is not known to be toxic or dangerous in any manner. However, because lizardfish aren’t typically captured for sale, it could be difficult to find them in stores. Alternatively, some individuals capture them for fun. Around the Gulf of Mexico and Florida, lizardfish of many different species may be encountered.

How large can a lizard fish grow?

Typically, lizardfish don’t become much bigger than 2 feet. Some specimens, nevertheless, have been measured at 3 feet long.

How are lizard fish caught?

With a hook and line and good bait, such as shrimp or squid, lizardfish can be captured.

What kind of animal is a lizard fish?

It is a fish with an eerie lizard-like head. This similarity is purely accidental.

How many different types of lizard fish exist?

A total of four distinct genera and 57 species of lizardfish are thought to exist.








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