Clearfin lizardfishSynodus dermatogenys

  • Seagrass
  • Lizardfish
  • Fauna
  • seagrass


Synodus dermatogenys is from the family of Synodontidae (Lizardfishes). Common names include Sand lizardfish, Banded lizardfish, Clearfin lizardfish, Grey-streak lizardfish, Two-spot lizardfish and Variegated lizardfish. It has an elongated body[1] that is brown in colour with 6 darker saddles along the back. There are dark patches with pale centres on the sides as well as a pale bluish stripe above the lateral line. Six dark spots are present on the tip of its snout and a long, thin nasal tentacle is present on the snout. The Clearfin lizardfish buries itself in the sand and only its eyes and nostrils are exposed[2]. It has a total of 11 to 13 dorsal soft rays and 8 to 10 anal soft rays.


[1] King D. ‘Reef Fishes & Corals; East Coast of Southern Africa’ Struik Publishers 1996.

[2] ‘Synodus Dermatogenys’.

Habitat and ecology

This species is present across the Indo-Pacific region. Recorded depth range is between 1 to 70m. it can be found in sand, rubble, lagoons, seaward reefs. The diet of S. dermatogenys consists of shrimps and fish which it ambushes from its concealed position in the sand. This species is usually solitary. However, at the time of mating, up to four males can be seen roaming around a female. A courting male may position itself on top of the female and spread its fins and gill cover as a show of aggression towards other males.[1]


Conservation and management

This species is listed as being of ‘Least Concern’ according to the IUCN Red List. It is widely present, and no major threats are known[2]. No conservation efforts are in place for this species, but it is present in MPAs in parts of its range.


[1] ‘Synodus Dermatogenys, Sand Lizardfish’.

[2] ‘Synodus Dermatogenys (Sand Lizardfish)’.

Did you know?

This species can reach a maximum length of 24cm.