Synodus saurus

The bluestripe lizardfish or Synodus saurus is a species belonging to the order Aulopiformes, family Synodontidae and genus Synodus. It is a species that inhabits relatively shallow waters (less than 20 meters), although there are some records of observations of specimens up to 400 meters. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean it can be found from Gibraltar south to Senegal, including the Azores, Canary and Cape Verde Islands. In the western Atlantic Ocean it is only present in the Bahamas archipelago. It is also present in the Mediterranean Sea.

The body of Synodus saurus reaches a maximum total length of 40 cm, although it is common to observe specimens that do not exceed 20 cm. The body is elongated, robust. The head, which is also elongated, has a large mouth, which extends past the vertical of the eye. The mouth is equipped with numerous small but very sharp teeth on both jaws. The eyes are bulging, large and located on the top of the head. None of the fins of this species have spines, but all the rays are soft. It has two dorsal fins, the first is located about half the length of the body, while the second dorsal fin is a very small fin that is located in the same vertical as the anal fin. The anal fin has between 10 and 13 rays. The pectoral fins are small and are located in front of the ventral fins.

As for the livery of Synodus saurus, it has a mottled pattern in shades of beige, pale yellowish, white and light brown. Striking are thin longitudinal stripes of bright blue on the dorsal part of the body and the sides. The ventral part of the body is silvery-white.

The diet of Synodus saurus includes mainly other fish species, but it is also known to occasionally feed on other animals. Small pelagic schooling fishes, such as species of the families Clupeidae, Engraulidae and Myctophidae and juveniles of the families Sparidae and Centracanthidae, are commonly found among the prey of this species. To capture these prey, Synodus saurus buries its body in the sand, exposing its eyes to observe its prey, and its mouth to pounce when a fish passes by unwary.


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