Family: SYNODONTIDAE, Lizardfishes
Lizardfishes are small to medium sized fishes (to 45 cm) characterized by a slender, cylindrical body; pointed, reptile-like head; eyes with fleshy eyelid on front and rear edges; top jaw bones very slender; large mouth that reaches well behind eyes, with numerous slender, depressible sharp jaw teeth; teeth on sides of roof of mouth, and on tongue; gill opening large; no fin spines; a single dorsal fin with 10-15 rays, about mid-body, a small adipose (skin flap) 2nd dorsal fin near the tail base; anal fin under adipose dorsal fin; relatively large pelvic fins with 8-9 rays, on belly well behind pectorals but before dorsal fin base; tail fin forked; scales smooth, on head and body; no bony scales on base of tail fin.
The family contains four genera with about 60 species, most ocurring in the tropical Indo-Pacific. In our area there are 12 species in three genera.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON & RODOLFO CLARO, AFTER RUSSELL (2002)