Lionfish are an invasive species that threaten our reef systems throughout the Caribbean and along the southeastern seaboard of the United States.
Lionfish Facts: · Lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) are a venomous, spiny fish with a native habitat range in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. · They are popular with aquarium enthusiasts around the world. It is likely these fish were introduced to the Atlantic via the aquarium trade or ballast tanks of transoceanic vessels. · Lionfish are known to be highly territorial and can be found offshore or in estuaries. In Florida, lionfish have been found in all water depths; on hard bottom, mangrove, seagrass, coral, artificial reefs, oyster reefs, seawalls and other manmade structures. · These areas provide a perfect concentrated food source that is comprised of a wide variety of small fish (including economically important gamefish) and crustaceans (notably lobster, crabs and shrimp). They also furnish excellent structure and hiding areas from which the lionfish can ambush and corner prey with its large fins before swallowing it whole. Lionfish can consume prey over 50% of their own body size and expand their stomachs to 30 times their normal size. · Reproduction can occur every 4 days with up to 30,000 eggs per spawn. The lionfish eggs hatchin just 2 days and settle within a month.