What are those pesty Lionfish?
Lionfish (Pterois volitans) are an invasive species that have a potential negative impact on native species and habitats.
They prey on anything that will fit into their mouth. More specifically, reef fish. They can deplete most fish off a reef in a short period of time. Lionfish are slow-moving fish that rely on stalking prey, usually at night.
- The Lionfish spines can deliver a venomous sting.
- Use their fan-like pectoral fins to “corner” their prey.
- Females can lay approximately 2 million eggs per year.
- Are nocturnal.
- They can survive for up to 15 years.
- Lionfish can survive in waters 50 degrees, however, strive in warm waters like the Atlantic and Caribbean.
- Have been found in depths from 1 to 300 feet on a hard sandy bottom, mangroves, coral, and artificial reefs like wrecks.
- Can eat 80% of the young reef fish on coral reefs within just five weeks.
- It can grow to adult size in about two years.
- Swim slowly, using their dorsal and anal fins to move them forward.
- Lionfish are generally nocturnal, meaning they prefer to hunt at night.
- An adults can grow as large as 18 inches and sometimes more.
- Consume over 50 species, including some economically and ecologically important species.
- Are often seen moving about during the day, alone and in small groups.
- Lionfish derbies and culling by divers are effective means of controlling lionfish populations.