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Species: Synodus foetens, Inshore Lizardfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout > eye, round point
eye seems large
nostril flap: broad triangle
flank 6-8 dark marks, rows pale spots
pectoral tip not/just reaching pelvic base
A 12-13, base > D1 base
LL 59-63
20-30 scales before D
5.5-6.5 rows scales - LL to D

Synodus foetens (Linnaeus, 1766)

Inshore Lizardfish

Body relatively slender; snout triangular, with a rounded point, > eye, moderately long (27.1 (24.5-31.9) % head length); flap on front nostril broad & triangular; adipose lids around eye relatively narrow, eye appears relatively large; mouth large, extending well past eye, top jaw 61.1 (55-65.2%) head length; many rows of fine pointed teeth on jaws, tongue and (in 1 band) on side of roof of mouth; fins without spines; one dorsal fin 11-12 (10-12) in midbody, with a small skin-flap fin behind it above anal fin; pectorals 11-13, usually not reaching origin of pelvic fin; anal 12-13 (11-13) rays; anal fin base usually longer than dorsal fin base; pelvics on abdomen behind pectoral base, 8 rays, inner rays distinctly longer than outer rays; 20-30 scales before dorsal fin on nape; 60 (59-63) lateral line scales; 5.5-6.5 scales between dorsal fin and lateral line; bases of short rays at top and bottom of tail fin completely scaleless.

Pale grey-brown; 6-8 indistinct dark marks, often with pale centers, along center of flank; rows of pale spots along upper side of body; often indistinct dark saddles across top of back; end of top of tail base with a dark spot; tail fin with dark rear edge and often dark lower lobe. Young: 6 -8 black Xs along side of belly before anal fin.

Size: 43 cm.

Habitat: typically in shallow inshore mud and sand bottoms, off beaches, in saltwater creeks.

Depth: 1-200 m.

New Jersey to the central Caribbean.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 43
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 200