Reef Lizardfish (species: Synodus variegatus) in ALA: Lizard Island (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Synodus variegatus
Reef Lizardfish

©Andy Lewis: Reef Lizardfish, Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Synodus binotatus at Big Vicki's Reef, Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Synodus binotatus at Big Vicki's Reef, Lizard Island. Same specimen as above showing two spots (or short streaks) on snout.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Aulopiformes
Family Synodontidae
Genus Synodus
Species Synodus variegatus



Distinguishing features

Colour variable and blotchy, grey/brown/reddish, with five or six indistinct saddles on back. A darker broken stripe on mid body has a paler broken stripe immediately below. Snout broader than some other Synodus and with two elongate marks at tip. Often found lying still with head raised on hard substrate.


  • Up to 40 cm (Length of specimen)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island: Abundant

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Allen, G., R. Steene, P. Humann and N. Deloach (2003). Reef fish identification: Tropical Pacific New World Publications Inc., Jacksonville, FL, USA.

Other references

  • Caley, M.J. (1991). Mechanisms of coexistence in communities of coral-reef fishes, Ph.D. thesis, University of Sydney. LIRS catalog number 307.
  • Caley, M.J. (1995). Reef fish community structure and dynamics: in interaction between local and larger-scale processes? Marine Ecology Progress Series, 129: 19-29. LIRS catalog number 448.
  • View all references