Feeding habits fo the lizardfish Synodus saurus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Actinopterygii: Synodontidae)

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

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 29-38, Volume 7, Issue 1 – May 2003


The feeding habits of the lizardfish Synodus saurus, were studie in the Azores archipelago, north-eastern Atlantic. Factors examined were diet composition, prey importance, season, fish size, feeding straegy and prey orientation in the oesophagus. The stomach contents of 308 specimens were collected and analyzed between March and November 2000. Synodus saurus is common in Azorean water. Though it prefers small grearious pelagic fish, it also feeds on epibenthic and benthic prey. We found the following prey in its diet: 9 families of teleostean fishes (Carangidae, clupeidae, Cynoglossidae, Gobiidae, Labridae, Myctophidae, Spaidae, Spyraenidae and Synodontidae), two families of crustaceans (Cymothoidae and Scyllaridae) and one of cephalopods (Loliginidae). The European pilchard, Sardina pilchardus was the commonest prey. The diet of the lizardfish varies with the season, showing the greatest diversity (given by the Shannon-Wiener index) im October. There is a significant correlation with the sea temperature. The size of the predator is not correlated to the size of its prey. However, we observed a ositive correlation between the size o the positive correlation between the size of the predator and the quantity of food in its stomach. The orientation of the prey in the oesophagus may partly depend on the predador’s size. However, analysis of the stomach contents provided no information on the selection of prey.

Full Text | PDF (288 KB)


Amundsen, P. A., Gabler, H. M. & F. J. Staldvik. 1996. A new approach to graphical analysis of feeding strategy from stomach contents data-modification of the Costello (1990) method. Journal of Fish Biology, 48: 607-614.

Berg, J. 1979. Discussion of methods of investigation of the food of fishes with reference to a preliminary study of the prey of Gobiusculus flavencens. Marine Biology, 50: 263-273.

Barreiros, J. P. & R. S. Santos. 1998. Notes on the food habits and predatory behaviour of the dusky grouper, Epinephelus marginatus (Lowe, 1834) (Pisces: Serranidae) in the Azores. Arquipélago. Life and Marine Sciences, 16A: 29-35.

Barreiros, J. P., Santos, R. S. & A. E. Borba. 2002. Food habits, schooling and predatory behaviour of the yellowmouth barracuda, Sphyraena viridensis (Perciformes: Sphyraenidae) in the Azores. Cybium, 26 (2): 83-88.

Barreiros, J. P., Morato, T., R. S. Santos & A. E. Borba. 2003. Inter-annual changes in the diet of the almaco jack Seriola rivoliana (Perciformes: Carangidae) from the Azores. Cybium, 27 (1): 37-40.

Bowen, S. H. 1983. Quantitative description of the diet. In: Fisheries Techniques (Eds. Nielsen L. A., Johnson D. L. & S. S. Lampton), pp. 325-336. American Fisheries Society, Maryland, USA.

Budnichenko, V. A. 1974. The feeding of Saurida undosquamis and Saurida tumbil along the Oman Coast. Journal of Ichthyology, 14: 267-272.

Costello, M. J. 1990. Predator feeding strategy and prey importance: a new graphical analysis. Journal of Fish Biology, 36: 261-263.

Derbal, F. & M. H., Kara. 1996. Alimentation estivale du mérou Epinephelus marginatus (Serranidae), des côtes est Algeriennes. Cybium, 20: 295-301.

Golani, D. 1993. The biology of the Red Sea migrant, Saurida undosquamis in the Mediterranean and comparison with the indigenous confamilial Synodus saurus (Teleostei: Synodontidae). Hydrobiologia. 271: 109-117.

Hyslop, E. J. 1980. Stomach contents analysis – a review of methods and their applications. Journal of Fish Biology, 17: 411-429.

Jones, R. 1978. Estimates of the food consumption of haddock (Melannogrammus aeglefinus) and cod (Gadus morhua). Journal du Conseil International d’Exploration de la Mer, 38: 18-37.

Kagiwara, F. & V. Abilhôa. 2000. A Alimentação do peixe-lagarto Synodus foetens (Linnaeus, 1766) em um banco areno-lodoso da Ilha do Mel, Paraná, Brasil. Arquivo de Ciências Veterinárias e Zoologia da UNIPAR, 3: 9-17.

Keenleyside, M. H. A. 1979. Diversity and Adaptation in Fish Behaviour. Springer-Verlag. Berlin.

Knutsen, I. & A. G. V., Salvanes. 1999. Temperaturedependent digestion handling time in juvenile cod and possible consequences for prey choice. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 181: 61-79.

Krebs, C. J. 1989. Ecological Methodology. Harper Collins Publishers. New York.

L’Abée-Lund, J. H., Aass, P. & H., Saegrov. 1996. Prey orientation in piscivorous brown trout. Journal of Fish Biology, 48: 871-877.

Labropoulou, M., Tserpes, G. & N. Tsimenides. 1998. Age, growth and feeding habits of the brown comber Serranus hepatus (Linnaeus, 1758) on the cretan shelf. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 46: 723-732.

Ludwig, J. A. & J. F. Reynolds. 1988. Statistical Ecology. A Primer on Methods and Computing. John Wiley & Sons. New York.

Milinski, M. 1982. Optimal foraging: the influence of intraspecific competition on diet selection. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 11: 109-115.

Morato, T., Santos, R. S. & J. P. Andrade. 2000. Feeding habits, seasonal and ontogenetic diet shift of blacktail comber, Serranus atricauda (Pisces: Serranidae), from the Azores, north-eastern Atlantic. Fisheries Research, 49: 51-59.

Moyle, P. B. & J. J. Cech. 2000. Fishes. An Introduction to Ichthyology. Fourth Edition. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs. New York.

Pielou, E. C. 1977. Mathematical Ecology. Wiley, N. Y. 385 pp.

Pinkas, L., Oliphant, M. S. & I. L. K. Iversor. 1971. Food habits of albacore, bluefin tuna and bonito in California waters. Fishery Bulletin, 152: 1-105.

Rohde, K. 1991. Intra- and interspecific interactions in low density populations in resource-rich habitats. Oikos, 60: 91-104.

Santos, R. S., F. M. Porteiro & J. P. Barreiros. 1997. Marine Fishes of the Azores. Annotated Checklist and Bibliography. Arquipélago. Life and Marine Sciences Supplement 1, xxi + 225p.

Soares, M. S. C., Barreiros, J. P., Sousa, L. & R. S. Santos. 2002. Agonistic and predatory behaviour of the lizardfish Synodus saurus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Actinoptrygii: Synodontidae) from the Azores. aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology, 6 (2): 53-60.

Sousa, L., Barreiros, J. P., M. S. C. Soares, Hostim-Silva, M. & R. S. Santos. 2003. Preliminary notes on the reproductive biology of the lizardfish, Synodus saurus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Actynopterygii: Synodontidae) in the Azores. Cybium, 27 (1): 41-45.

Sulak, K. J. 1986. Synodontidae. In: Fishes of the North-east Atlantic and the Mediterranean (Eds. Whitehead, P. J. P., Bauchôt, M. L., Hureau, J. C., Nielsen, J. & E. Tortonese), pp. 405-411, Vol I, UNESCO. Paris.

Tirasin, E. M. & T. Jørgensen. 1999. An evaluation of the precision of diet description. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 182: 243-252.

Zar, J. H. 1996. Biostatistical Analysis. Prentice-Hall. Englewood Cliffs.

Previous post

A new species of the Trimma caesiura complex (Gobiidae, Teleostei) from the north-eastern margin of the Australian Plate, with a redescription of the other nominal species in the complex

Next post

Rivulus paracatuensis n. sp. (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae):a new rivuline species from the Rio São Francisco basin, Brazil

The Author



No Comment

Leave a reply