* Lizardfish Family Photos and Information – Synodontidae

The Lizardfish Family

Calico Lizardfish, Synodus lacertinus, a representative member of the Lizardfish Family.
Calico Lizardfish, Synodus lacertinus, a representative member of the Lizardfish Family.

The fish of the Lizardfish or Synodontidae Family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as “Chiles.” There are currently 60 global members of the Lizardfish Family of which five reside in Mexican waters of the Pacific.

The Lizardfish are small to medium-sized fish; the largest Lizardfish is the Lance Lizardfish, Synodus scituliceps, which has a maximum length of 55 cm (21.6 inches). These fish are characterized by slender cylindrical bodies, straight lateral lines, pointed “lizard-like” heads, and large mouths that extend behind the eyes and have many rows of fine teeth. They have one dorsal fin at mid-body, a small adipose fin above the tail base, an anal fin under the adipose fin, large pelvic fins with eight or nine rays located on the abdomen behind the pectoral fins, and a forked caudal fin. Their fins are without spines.

The Lizardfish are sedimentary bottom dwellers that sit motionless, perched on their pectoral fins, or buried in the sand with one eye exposed, waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey. Most are soft bottom dwellers but a few inhabit coral and rocky reefs. They are voracious predators feeding primarily on small fish, krill, squid, and shrimp.

There are five Lizardfish presented in this website, all found in and around the waters of the greater Los Cabos area. Absent is a photograph of the Iguana Lizardfish, Synodus sechurae (dorsal fin origin closer to the snout tip than the adipose fin), a species which I hope to collect and include herein within the next 12 months. In general they are considered a nuisance fish of limited value and a “catch-and-release.”

Members of the Lizardfish Family represented in the fish identification section of this website include:

Calico Lizardfish, Synodus lacertinus
California Lizardfish, Synodus lucioceps
Iguana Lizardfish, Synodus sechurae
Lance Lizardfish, Synodus scituliceps
Spotted Lizardfish, Synodus evermanni