Agonistic and predatory behaviour of the lizardfish Synodus saurus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Actinopterygii: Synodontidae) from the Azores

Marta S. C. Soares, João Pedro Barreiros, Luis Sousa and Ricardo S. Santos

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 53-60, Volume 6, Issue 2 – November 2002


The behaviour of the lizardfish Synodus saurus, a common demersal predator in Azorean waters, is described. A total of 25 hours’ qualitative diurnal underwater observations were carried out between July 2000 and January 2001. Behavioural aspects are presented, illustrated with diagrams based on in situ observations. S. saurus is a cryptic predator that feeds mainly of small pelagic, gregarious fish; it is primarily associated with soft bottom substrate. Besides remaining camouflaged buried beneath the sand, S. saurus is a highly mobile predator capable of rapidly swimming more than five meters to capture its prey. S. saurus maintains a territory through agonistic interactions, and also interacts non-agonistically with heterospecifics such as Bothus podas maderensis.

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