Animal Species:Gracile Saury, Saurida gracilis Quoy & Gaimard, 1824
The Gracile Saury is pale with red and brown mottling above and whitish below. It occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific.
Standard Common Name
Gracile Lizardfish, Slender Grinner, Slender Lizardfish, Slender Saury
The Gracile Saury is an elongate fish with a short based dorsal fin and a dorsal adipose fin. It has a large mouth with sharp slender teeth that are exposed when the mouth is closed. The species is pale with red and brown mottling above and whitish below. There is a row of dark blotches on the lower sides and three black blotches on the upper sides towards the rear of the body.
The species grows to 28 cm in length.
The Gracile Saury looks similar to the lizardfishes (family Synodontidae) of the genera Synodus and Trachinocephalus. Fishes in the genus Saurida, such as the Gracile Saury, have nine pelvic fin rays and teeth that are exposed when the mouth is closed. Fishes in the genus Synodus have eight pelvic fin rays and teeth that are not visible when the mouth is closed. The genus Trachinocephalus contains a single species, T.myops. This species has a 'pug-headed' appearance and blue stripes on the side of the body.
It occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific. In Australia it is known from north-western Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south to the southern coast of Queensland.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
The species is usually seen on sandy seabeds near coral reefs at depths from 1 m to 12 m.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Michael, S.W. 1998. Reef Fishes. Volume 1. A Guide to Their Identification, Behaviour, and Captive Care. Microcosm. Pp. 624.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
- Russell, B.C. 1999. Synodontidae. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-vi, 1398-2068.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Gracile Saury, Saurida gracilis, Harpadontinae, pale, red, brown, blotches/mottled, white underside, tropical water, marine, Gracile Lizardfish, Slender Grinner, Slender Lizardfish, Slender Saury, elongate, large mouth, sharp teeth, 10 cm - 30 cm, Lizardfish, Synodontidae,