Variegated Lizardfish, Synodus variegatus (Lacépède 1803)

Other Names: Engleman's Lizardfish, Reef Lizardfish, Scaly-cheek Lizardfish

A Variegated Lizardfish, Synodus variegatus, at Lady Musgrave Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Dave Harasti / License: All rights reserved

A greyish to whitish lizardfish with about six reddish to brown bars on upper side and across the back, with smaller blotches, and a whitish bar along lower midside interrupted by dark red to brown bars.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Synodus variegatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jan 2020,

Variegated Lizardfish, Synodus variegatus (Lacépède 1803)

More Info


Northern Great Barrier Reef, to about Sydney, New South Wales, also the Lord Howe Island region and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea, and Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Inhabits coastal and offshore reefs and usually seen perching on corals or rocks.

Species Citation

Salmo variegatus Lacepède 1803, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 5: 157, pl. 3(3). Type locality: Mauritius, Mascarenes, southwestern Indian Oceany


Dianne J. Bray


Australian Faunal Directory

Variegated Lizardfish, Synodus variegatus (Lacépède 1803)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1979. The Fishes of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Aust. Natl. Parks Wldlf. Ser. Spec. Publ. 2. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service 81 pp. 15 pls.

Cressey, R. 1981. Revision of the Indo-west Pacific lizardfishes of the genus Synodus (Pisces : Synodontidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 342: 1-53 figs 1-44

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

Francis, M.P. & Randall, J.E. 1993. Further additions to the fish faunas of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 118-135 figs 1-22 pls 1-4

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

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

Lacepède, B.G. 1803. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : chez Plassan Vol. 5 803 pp. 21 pls.

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. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

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.

Schultz, L.P. 1953. Family Synodontidae: lizardfishes. 30-42, figs 8-9, pls 3, 6 in Schultz, L.P., Herald, E.S., Lachner, E.A., Welander, A.D. & Woods, L.P. (eds). Fishes of the Marshall and Marianas Islands. Vol. 1. Families Asymmetrontidae through Siganidae. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 202(1): 1-685, figs 1-90, pls 1-74

Waples, R.S. & Randall, J.E. 1989. A revision of the Hawaiian lizardfishes of the genus Synodus, with descriptions of four new species. Pacific Science 42(3-4): 177-213.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37118023

Depth:5–60 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:40 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map