Lizardfish Love

Posted in Under the Sea on October 2nd, 2009 by MadDog
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Meet Ozzie and Harriet. The surname is Lizardfish. Ozzie Lizardfish, looking a bit frazzled, is on the right. Harriet Lizardfish, his sweetheart spouse, is on the left:

Reef Lizardfish - (Synodus variegatus)

Lizardfish, in general, have slender, more or less cylindrical bodies with one dorsal fin. The are predators. Check out the teeth on Harriet! They lay well camouflaged, as you can see, in wait for the unwary passerby and launch a lightning attack followed by a big gulp. Ozzie and Harriet identify themselves ethnically as Reef Lizardfish or, as they prefer, Synodus variegatus.

There is no sexual dimorphism that I can see and it doesn’t mention any in the literature that I checked. I’m not getting raunchy here, I’m just saying that the girls and boys look pretty much alike, unlike some species of fish (and other critters) in which the genders appear quite different (compare a hen and a rooster, in case you still don’t get it). Here Ozzie (or is it Harriet, I’ve lost track now) comes up for a little Lizardfish cuddle:

Reef Lizardfish - (Synodus variegatus)

I have noticed that it is very common to see Lizardfish in pairs. I don’t know if they are mating pairs or just good friends, but it could be quite a different thing altogether. I chased these two around for several minutes. You can’t get very close to them, as they are quite skittish. Try as I might, I could not drive them apart. The instant that one fled my obnoxious intrusion, the other followed. In a second or two, they were once again within inches of each other:

Reef Lizardfish - (Synodus variegatus)

They seem to prefer the side-by-side arrangement as in the shots above. However, they will sometimes alight a few inches apart:

Reef Lizardfish - (Synodus variegatus)

I only got this one shot of the other possibility of why they may like to pair up. It is quite common to see them in this sort of position. In fact it seems, from my observations, the more likely configuration:

Reef Lizardfish - (Synodus variegatus)

My theory is that there is an advantage for predators who occasionally hunt in pairs to adopt this “covering all angles” position. Lizardfish are, I’m sure, quite tasty little morsels for other predators, so, while they are waiting for a meal to come swimming by, they are also looking out for those predators which are searching for a light Lizardfish snack. They cover all the ground in this position for both finding prey and avoiding being preyed upon.

Anyway, that’s my theory.

You can see more Lizardfish here, and here.

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