Abundant in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region: from the Red Sea and East Africa to Hawaiian, Line, Marquesan and Ducie Islands, north to Ryuku Islands, south to Kermadec, Rapa and Lord Howe Islands. Also reported from New Zealand and the Persian Gulf. In Australia recorded from around Perth in Western Australia, across the tropical north including the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef in Queensland south to southern New South Wales and including Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands.
Frequents coastal and offshore open reef areas adjacent to sandy patches. Depth to 121 m, usually 5 - 60 m.
Highly variable colour from red to grey, but with a row of dark, mostly solid, rectangular markings along the side, with distinctly pale smaller blotches directly under. The most commonly seen lizardfish, sometimes occupies a vantage point on reef or rocky area, or may conceal itself in the sand. Sometimes in pairs, feeds on fishes and smaller crustaceans. Grows to 40 cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.49.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Synodus+variegatus. Accessed 06/07/18.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Synodus-variegatus.html. Accessed 06/07/18.