Trachinocephalus myops Click to enlarge image
A Painted Lizardfish in Sydney Harbour, New South Wales Image: R. Kuiter
© R. Kuiter

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    trachinus
    Genus
    Trachinocephalus
    Family
    Synodontidae
    Order
    Aulopiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to about 30 cm in length.

Introduction

The Painted Grinner can be recognised by its long slender body and large mouth bristling with teeth. The colouration of the species is also distinctive.

Identification

The Painted Grinner has blue and yellow stripes or dashes along the sides of the body and a dark, oblique mark above the operculum.

It has a very short snout and an oblique mouth with numerous fine, sharp teeth. There is a short-based first dorsal fin, followed by a small adipose dorsal fin and a deeply forked caudal fin.

The species has been listed as Trachinocephalus myops in many publications. That species is not found in Australia and is now considered a separate Atlantic species.


Painted Grinner
A Painted Grinner caught on hook and line by Ben Mollard at Quakers Hat Bay, The Spit, Sydney, New South Wales, September 2001. Image: Ben Mollard
© Ben Mollard

Habitat

The Painted Grinner lives in shallow estuaries down to deep offshore waters in excess of 200 m. It is rarely seen because it often buries itself in the bottom sediment with only its eyes exposed.

Distribution

The species has been recorded from tropical and subtropical waters around the northern coastline of Australia from north-western Western Australia to southern New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



References

  1. 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.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  5. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House. Pp.557.