Streaky Lizardfish, Synodus similis McCulloch 1921

Other Names: Ear-spot Lizardfish, Simile Lizardfish, Southern Lizardfish

A Streaky Lizardfish, Synodus similis, in Nelson Bay, New South Wales, October 2016. Source: Tom Davis / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale lizardfish with a prominent black pigment spot near the upper corner of the gill cover, comprising 2-3 short oblique dark streaks (rear streak very small when present). The species also has indistinct bars across the back, a series of reddish-brown blotches along the midside and a pale blue to lavender streak along upper side.. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Synodus similis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Sep 2023,

Streaky Lizardfish, Synodus similis McCulloch 1921

More Info


Torres Strait, Queensland, to Montague Island, New South Wales; also at Lord Howe Island and on the Lord Howe Rise in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical south Pacific east to Rapa.


Dorsal fin 13-14; Anal fin 9-11; Pectoral fin 13; Pelvic fin 8; Procurrent caudal-fin rays 15-17 + 14-16 = 29-33; Lateral line continuous, 58-59 pored scales; Scale rows above lateral line from dorsal origin 3.5; Scale rows below lateral line to anal origin 6; Predorsal scales 15-16; cheek scale rows 4; Vertebrae 58-59; Peritoneal spots 10-12; anterior palatine teeth longest and in a discrete group; posterior pelvic process wide. 

Similar Species

The similar Synodus dermatogenys lacks the dark streaks on the upper corner of the gill cover.


The species is named  like similis (= resembling), in reference to it being “apparently very similar” to Synodus indicus.

Species Citation

Synodus similis McCulloch 1921, Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 7(3): 167, pl. 8(2). Type locality: Capricorn Group, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Streaky Lizardfish, Synodus similis McCulloch 1921


Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 (as Synodus hoshinonis)

Cressey, R.F. 1981. Revision of Indo-West Pacific lizardfishes of the genus Synodus (Pisces: Synodontidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 342: i-iii + 1-53., open access

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp. 

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) (as Synodus hoshinonis)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

McCulloch, A.R. 1921. Notes and illustrations of Queensland fishes. No. 2. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 7(3): 164-178 pls 8-11 See ref at BHL

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 

Russell, B.C. 1999. Families Synodontidae, Bathysauridae. pp. 1928-1947 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068. 

Russell, B.C. 2015. Family Synodontidae. pp. 541-546 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 2 pp. 1-576.

Russell, B., Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & Lawrence, A. 2016. Synodus similis . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T67855917A67871710. Downloaded on 30 January 2020.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37118007

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:25-55 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sand/rubble areas

Max Size:18 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map