You won’t find land-dwelling lizards scampering about coral reefs, but you might do a double-take when you see the reef lizardfish. Also known as variegated lizardfish, these strange reef-dwellers look surprisingly like lizards. They’re found in coral reefs throughout Indonesia and along the coast of India and northern Australia.
Lizardfish are named for their habit of propping themselves up on the tops of rocks and corals with their long fins, waiting for shoals of other reef fish to swim nearby. Then they dart out and grab their unlucky prey with their sharp teeth. Lizardfish can snatch very large fish thanks to their gaping mouths.
(Photo: Jan Messersmith)
Lizardfish also use camouflage to hunt. Their mottled red-and-brown coloring helps them blend in to the reef, but they also disguise themselves by burying into the sand. With just their eyes poking out, lizardfish stay completely motionless until their next meal swims along.
(Photo: Elias Levy)
Tune in to our weekly Creature Features every Friday on The Beacon.
- Ocean Roundup: Chevron Withdraws Drilling Plans from the Arctic, Peru Issues Ban on Shrimp Fishing, and More Posted Fri, December 19, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Humpback Whales Communicate to Feed at Night, Bangladesh Oil Spill Threatening Sundarbans Mangroves, and More Posted Wed, December 17, 2014
- Holiday Creature Feature: Christmas Tree Worm and Candy Cane Shrimp Posted Fri, December 19, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Filefish Use Chemical Scent to Camouflage, Bangladesh Oil Spill Threatening Endangered Dolphins, and More Posted Mon, December 15, 2014
- Act: GrubHub, Take Shark Fin Off the Menu! Posted Wed, December 17, 2014