Tag Archives: Lizardfish

Lizardfish lunch

A lizardfish with a white-spotted toby in its mouth

This Reef Lizardfish snagged itself a prospective lunch. The trouble is, its lunch is a Whitespotted Toby and, like all pufferfish, one mode of defense is to inflate itself so it can’t be swallowed. This toby has done just that and the lizardfish will have a hard job getting that down.

If it is successful, it might still be in trouble since another of the toby’s defenses is a skin toxin which renders it, at best unpalatable, and at worst, deadly!

Stoic reef lizardfish

When I go snorkeling, until I get in the water I never know what the visibility will be like, what I’ll see, and whether I’ll have any photo opportunities. I usually swim for about an hour or so and in that time I could take 40 photos or none at all.

On this day, I’d taken maybe two photos. I was in the process of taking my fins off and getting out of the water when I glanced down and saw this reef lizardfish just off to the side of the ladder. I had one fin on and one off as some moderate swell rolled in, so I hung on to the ladder with one hand as I ducked my head under and snapped some photos. Despite my ungainly thrashing around, the lizardfish remained planted on the bottom, possibly relieved when I finally got my act together and lugged myself out of the water.

Two Step revisited

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your Happy Place.’ See more responses here.

There were a few options for this theme, but I went with this collection because I love going snorkeling and because, just a few days ago, my wife and I revisited Two Step for the final time before Hawaii loosened its restrictions on visitors. We got up early, drove down, and were in the water around 7:45 am. There were two other people swimming at that time, no one else waiting to get in.

The top photo was taken after our swim, around 9:30 am. In a ‘normal’ year, at this time of day, this whole area would be dotted with groups of people, and chairs and mounds of towels left by people already in the water. The bay would also be similarly populated with people, cruising around, looking at fish. There would be several snorkeling tour boats out in the bay, dumping people into the water. Two Step is one of the best spots for snorkeling on the island but, truth is, much of the time it’s kind of a zoo.

However, one of the nice things about Two Step, that I’ve mentioned before, is that it’s a marine reserve. No fishing is allowed and the fish have figured that out. I can’t emphasize enough how differently the fish there react to people than they do in areas where fishing and spear fishing is allowed. They’re so much more mellow and less inclined to dart away.

Also posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

I took this photo of two reef lizardfishes, waiting in their usual manner. It was only after I got home and looked at the photos that I noticed the third lizardfish lower down, near the right edge of the photo. On this day, they were everywhere.


Lizardfish are fairly small and hide by remaining motionless on rocks and coral, relying on their patterned colors to blend in. This works very well and I rarely see them, but I noticed this one in motion moments before it plopped down where you see it. I think this one is a reef lizardfish.

Reef lizardfish

A reef lizardfish sits motionless on a rock off the Big Island of Hawaii.

I saw my first lizardfish just a few weeks ago, noticing unusual marking on the rocks at a spot I often check out. Flipping through the pages of my fish book, it was fairly easy to figure out what I’d been looking at. Since then, I’ve been looking out for them and have seen several, a case of knowing what to look for I think.

Lizardfish, like hawkfish, flounders and octopuses, are better spotted on the move before they settle and blend in. I saw this reef lizardfish just as it plunked into this spot and froze. As I drifted around above it, it remained motionless, waiting for me to go away. When I did so, I saw the lizardfish shoot off and hide on a different slab of rock.