Sand lizardfish

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Sand lizardfish
Synodus dermatogenys.jpg
Synodus dermatogenys at Réunion
Synodus dermatogenys biofluorescence.jpg
Biofluorescence of Synodus dermatogenys
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Aulopiformes
Family: Synodontidae
Genus: Synodus
Species: S. dermatogenys
Binomial name
Synodus dermatogenys
Fowler, 1912

Synodus amaranthus
Waples & Randall, 1988

The sand lizardfish, clearfin lizardfish or variegated lizardfish[1] (Synodus dermatogenys) is a species of lizardfish that lives mainly in the Indo-Pacific.[2]


The Synodus dermatogenys is found in a marine environment within a reef-associated depth range of about 1–70 meters. This species is native to a tropical climate. The maximum recorded length of the Synodus dermatogenys as an unsexed male is about 24 centimeters or about 9.44 inches. It can be identified by the five or six red-brown vertical bars that intersect a red horizontal broken band on the flank, immediately below this band is a line of whitish dots although the colours can vary depending on the surroundings. This species is native to the areas of Indo-Pacific, Red Sea, Hawaiian, Line, Marquesan, Tuamoto islands, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to Lord Howe, Micronesia, Southeast Atlantic, Algoa Bay, and South Africa. It is common to find this species in sand-rubble areas of lagoon and seaward reefs to over 20 meters of benthic depth. This species buries itself in the sand while exposing its eyes and nostrils. It is known to find this species solitary or in small groups.[3] Sand lizardfish is a predator of small fish and crustaceans, its mouth is full of sharp needle-like teeth.

Sand lizardfish exhibits biofluorescence, that is, when illuminated by blue or ultraviolet light, it re-emits it as green, and appears differently than under white light illumination. Biofluorescence may assist in intraspecific communication and camouflage.[4]


  1. ^ "Cook Islands Biodiversity Database". The Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "ANIMAL SPECIES: Banded Lizardfish, Synodus dermatogenys Fowler, 1912". Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Synodus dermatogenys Fowler, 1912 Sand lizardfish". Fish Base. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Sparks, John S.; Schelly, Robert C.; Smith, W. Leo; Davis, Matthew P.; Tchernov, Dan; Pieribone, Vincent A.; Gruber, David F. (2014). "The Covert World of Fish Biofluorescence: A Phylogenetically Widespread and Phenotypically Variable Phenomenon". PLoS ONE. 9 (1): e83259. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083259. PMC 3885428Freely accessible. PMID 24421880.