15 Lizardfish Facts You’ll Never Forget

Read on for some interesting facts about a lizardfish

In the deepest corners of the sea, there lie waiting so many creatures, dangerous and not so dangerous but you can be sure that the lizardfish are the most dangerous predators that the world has ever seen. They are the mafia of the marine environment, predators who are bottom dwellers and will eat just about anything that would cross their paths. Their sizes could be small or large but a characteristic feature to identify a lizardfish would be its teeth and eyes, their large mouth with their protruding fangs, and dark bulbous eyes. The lizardfish can live from anywhere between the shallow waters of the world to the sandy bay region to the tropical and sub-tropical oceans of the world. However, before we venture into the depths, it is important for us to learn that we are talking here about typical as well as other forms of lizardfishes. The typical or true lizardfish are the ones of the Synodontidae family while those that are included in the category of lizardfish as well are the Bathysauridae and Pretrichonotidae families. Let us take you on a journey to learn some more stunning facts about the lizardfish and if you want to learn more about fish, check out our pages on interesting facts on monkfish and toadfish.


Fact File

What do they prey on?

Other fish

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.22-15 lb (99.8-6803 g)

How long are they?

3.93-27.56 in (10-70 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Usually characterized by large mouth and sharp teeth

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Depths of the ocean bed


From Eastern Atlantic to Western Atlantic, from tropical to sub-tropical, along the entire Gulf of Mexico





Scientific Name






Lizardfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lizardfish?

The lizardfish is a deepsea-dwelling fish.

What class of animal does a lizardfish belong to?

The Synodontidae belongs to the class of fish.

How many lizardfish are there in the world?

While the exact number is not known, these predators consist of at least 57 and at most 67 different types of bottom ocean dwellers distributed throughout the coast range of the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic.

Where does a lizardfish live?

The lizardfish is found in the deep sea or ocean waters in the tropical and subtropical water bodies of the world. These can mean the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and other water bodies.

What is a lizardfish's habitat?

The lizardfish are known as 'benthic' creatures. Benthic is just a fancy word for entities that live in the sandy, shallow bottom water of the ocean. The true lizardfish or those of the Synodus origin live under the coastal waters throughout the world. Among the Synodus family, the bay region of the Gulf of Mexico contains the inshore lizardfish. Then we have the brother category of the Synodus family, most famously known as the Bathysauridae family or deepsea lizardfish who go down to 1400 ft (426.7 m) from the surface of the water body.  

Who do lizardfish live with?

The lizard fish lives in solitary or on their own.

How long does a lizardfish live?

The inshore lizardfish has a shelf life of nine years usually so the range of years that the lizardfish lives through could be somewhere from 9-15 years.

How do they reproduce?

There is quite a distinct difference between the reproductive habits of a true lizardfish (of the Synodus family) and its other Aulopiformes categories (Bathysauridae and Pseudotrichonotidae). While the latter predators have both female and male reproductive organs in their bodies due to the scarcity of mating partners in the darkness of the ocean that they live in, the Synodontidae have male and female fish among their species. No physical contact occurs between the male and female, however, for reproduction. During the mating season, the female lizardfish lays eggs among the coastal rocks or reefs. The male lizardfishes march along to impregnate the eggs which then hatches into small lizardfishes.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status is Least Concern which means that they have no major threats to their lives, yet. Sometimes due to the sandy camouflage, fishing nets might capture one or two lizardfish but the fishermen almost always release them back.

Lizardfish Fun Facts

What do lizardfish look like?

The lizardfish is like the Cheshire Cat of the marine environment. The first feature that you would notice about these fish is their wide mouth filled with sharp teeth. But if you don't run away from their frightening smile, you would notice the mottled or rough scales of the body. Why does it have this mottled texture? That's to protect them or rather help them lie in wait among the sand. The sand is their form of camouflage in the shallow depths so that they can surprise their prey before they catch them within their teeth. Their brown, dark brown, blackish or grayish body (depending on the species) include their variety of bony fins - a dorsal fin, a caudal fin, and a smaller adipose fin. Part of the lizardfish adaptations is the cylindrical, slender body with a big head and even bulkier eyes. These features vary in different lizard fishes according to the marine environment that they live in. The deepsea lizardfish have movable teeth so that their prey cannot escape their grip once they are caught in the deep sea.

Read on for some more interesting lizardfish facts

How cute are they?

If you see them in the bottom ocean waters coming at you with their teeth, you would swim for your life! True lizardfish could be small but that does not make them less intimidating. The lizardfishes could even be called annoying by fishermen since they take their shrimp bait. The same goes for the fishing anglers who do not get to hook a nice catch because the lizardfishes keep taking their bait, the shrimp.

How do they communicate?

There are no solid facts about how the Synodontidae communicate but in some cases, their slender bodies with their fins and big head can light up due to the bioluminescence genes in them.

How big is a lizardfish?

These deep-sea species can have variable sizes according to their subspecies. The length of an inshore lizardfish can be up to 16 in (40.6 cm) but the deep-sea lizard fish who live deeper in the waters, they can go up to almost twice the size of the inshore lizardfish i.e. 25.2 in (64 cm).  

How fast can a lizardfish swim?

Being one of the most dangerous predators for other fishes, the lizardfish can swim very fast.

How much does a lizardfish weigh?

A lizardfish weighs 0.22-15 lb (99.8-6803 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Even though the typical lizardfish have a specific sexual distinction, there is no certain name for the male and female of the species. In other deep-sea lizardfish species, since they are hermaphrodite in nature (with both male and female organs in a single body), there is no specific name.

What would you call a baby lizardfish?

A baby lizardfish does not have a certain solid name, as of yet.

What do they eat?

Most of the lizardfishes, including an inshore lizardfish, eat fish from the deep sea. The inshore lizardfish diet also includes small invertebrates like dead mollusks including oysters and freshwater mussels.

Are they rare?

The lizard fish is a quite common sea creature in the oceans of the world.

Would they make a good pet?

They would not make a good pet because they are predators and they can not be tamed.

Did you know...

The deep-sea lizardfish also go to the length of eating their own species, if they come across one.

Types of lizardfish

The different types of lizardfish include but are not limited to, reef lizardfish or variegated lizardfish, red lizardfish, Atlantic lizardfish, deepsea lizardfish, shortfin lizardfish, diamond lizardfish, and more.

Eating lizardfish

The bony length of the lizardfish makes it unsuitable for eating purposes.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these catfish facts and clownfish interesting facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable giraffe catfish coloring pages.



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