Painted Grinner

Trachinocephalus Myops
Painted Grinner - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Trachinocephalus Myops
Other names Bluntnose Lizardfish, Painted Lizardfish, Painted Saury, Snakefish
Size Up to 32 cm (12.5 in)
Weight Under 1 kg (2.2 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, sandy, rubble, silty & muddy areas often near reefs
Depth Range 2 - 200 m (656 ft)
Painted Grinner Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Painted Grinner is a species of fish found in the coastal waters of Australia. They are most commonly found in the northern waters of Australia, from Western Australia to the Great Barrier Reef and down the east coast to Victoria.
  • They have a distinct pattern of green and blue stripes on a whitish-brown background, which gives them a “painted” appearance. The body of the Painted Grinner is elongated and laterally compressed, with a large mouth full of sharp teeth and small eyes.
  • The Painted Grinner is a carnivorous fish that feeds on small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates.
  • They are a solitary fish that is usually found swimming alone or in pairs.
  • They are ambush predators that are rarely seen as they hide their bodies under the sand and wait motionless for small prey to swim by.
  • Estimates of lifespan is between 10 – 20 years in the wild.
  • Painted Grinners have been known to breed year-round under optimal conditions. During breeding season, Painted Grinners are known to form pairs, and the female lays the eggs on a hard surface, such as coral or rock. After hatching, the larvae drift with the currents until they settle on the seabed.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing

Painted Grinners are occasionally targeted by recreational anglers, particularly in areas where they are abundant and easily accessible, such as nearshore coral reefs and rocky outcrops. However, they are mostly bycatch when anglers target other bottom dwelling species.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Aulopiformes

Family: Synodontidae

Genus: Trachinocephalus

Species: Trachinocephalus Myops

Conservation Status

The conservation status of Painted Grinners in Australia is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that there are currently no major threats to their populations, and their overall numbers appear to be stable.

Fish Taste Quality

Painted grinner are a edible fish but not a highly targeted species for consumption. They are firm and flavourful, with a mild taste similar to that of other reef fish species.

Taste Rating: 2/5

How to catch
Painted Grinner

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Patternoster Rig, Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms, Soft plastics, Live minnow

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Targeted

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