The Lizardfish Family
The fish of the Lizardfish or Synodontidae Family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as “chiles.” There are currently sixty global members of the Lizardfish Family of which five reside in Mexican waters of the Pacific.
The lizardfishes are small to medium sized fishes with the largest lizardfish being the Lance Lizardfish, Synodus scituliceps, with a maximum length of 55 cm (21.6 inches). They all have slender cylindrical bodies, pointed “lizard-like” heads with large mouths that extend behind the eyes that have many rows of fine teeth and straight lateral lines. They have one dorsal fin, mid-body, a small adipose fin above the tail base, an anal fin that is under the adipose fin, large pelvic fins with eight or nine rays that are located on the abdomen behind the pectoral fins, and a forked caudal fin. The fins are without spines.
Lizardfishes 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 fishes, krill, squid, and shrimp.
There are five lizardfishes presented in this website, all found in an 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 twelve months. In general they are considered a nuisance fish, are of limited value, and a “catch-and-release.”
Members of the Lizardfish Family represented in the fish identification section of this website include: