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Pterois volitans (Red lionfish)

Pterois miles (Devil firefish)

What is the Lionfish (Pterois, pronounced


The Pterois, or more commonly knows as the

Lionfish, Zebrafish, Firefish or Turkeyfish, is
the name given to a group of venomous fish, of which
are native to The South Pacific and Indian Oceans
(i.e., the Indo-Pacific region) as well as a very large
area from western Australia and Malaysia east to
French Polynesia and the United Kingdom's Pitcairn
Islands, north to southern Japan and southern Korea
and south to Lord Howe Island off the east coast of
Australia and the Kermadec Islands of New Zealand.
In between, the species is found throughout



Where do they get their name from?

The genus name, Pterois, pronounced (tare-oh-eese) is defined in modern
dictionaries as simply Lionfish, however the word Pterois comes from the
Greek word pteroeis meaning feathered or winged and the Ancient Greek
word, (pteron), meaning feather or wing.
The species name, volitans, pronounced (vole-ee-tahnz), is Latin for flying or
hovering and the present participle of the Latin word volit, which means to
fly or to hover.
The species name, miles, pronounced (mee-layz), is Latin for soldiering and
the present participle of the Latin word mlit, which means to soldier.

What makes them

a threat?
Their Venom and Spines
Lionfish spines, which contain venom, are used as a deterrent for predators rather than for
hunting prey. So dont worry- lionfish arent about to ambush unsuspecting divers or
swimmers. Lionfish only use their weapons defensively; therefore simply steering clear of
their venomous dorsal, ventral, and anal spines can avoid stings.
But however, while hunting prey, they might use their spines to force their prey into tight
corners before swallowing them.
Their venom however is so painful, that experienced National Geographic Diver, Mike Ryan,
was quoted saying It wont kill you, but itll make you wish you were dead.

Diagram Showing the location of the Fins and the Venom Carrying Spines
on the Pterois

Their Population

By now, youre probably thinking that the Pterois most other
species of organisms in this world, endangered or on the verge of being
Well in this case its the complete opposite. The problem that is currently
in focus is what is known as the Invasion. Where the Lionfish are in a
sense invading the southeastern United States coast from Florida to
North Carolina. Juvenile lionfish have been collected in waters off Long
Island, New York, and Bermuda. Lionfish are a popular marine
ornamental fish and were possibly intentionally released into the
Atlantic. The first lionfish was reported in South Florida waters in 1985
with many additional sightings occurring until they were documented as
established in the early 2000s.

Map Showing the Distribution of the Invasive


Are lionfish invasive in other parts of

the world other than in the Western
Atlantic Basin?

Yes! Lionfish, mostly Pterois miles, are

being sighted in the Mediterranean Sea
now. They appear to have either transited
the Suez Canal from the Red Sea, where
lionfish are considered a native species,
or private aquarium releases are
contributing to their establishment of a
new non-native habitat.

Are lionfish really all that


Yes it is! Invasive lionfish are

out-breeding, out-competing
and out-living native fish
stocks and other marine
species. The consequences
impact the food security and
economies affecting over a
hundred million people.

One thing is for certain, the

lionfish invasion is probably
the worst man-made
ecological disaster ever
witnessed and it has yet to
completely play itself out.

Are Lionfish potentially the

fastest breeders in the
Western Atlantic Basin?

In favorable conditions female lionfish can

release egg masses approximately every 4
days, up to 2 million eggs a year. Lionfish
larvae have an incredibly high recruitment
rate to suitable habitat, meaning that
potentially more eggs become larvae, which
then become juvenile lionfish settled
somewhere that they can grow and live
relatively free from environmental pressure.

(To put it another way: Lionfish

breed faster than rabbits and
most of them find good homes
with plenty of food.) Lionfish are
sexually mature reach 1 year of
age and can live well beyond 15
years. There are aquarium
owners who have reported
having a lionfish live to 20 years

What can they eat?

Lionfish can eat prey over half the

size of their own body as long as it
will fit into their mouths. Their
stomach can expand up to 30 times
the normal volume and a lionfish
will fill up to capacity as soon as it
is able. Lionfish are not picky eaters
and feed indiscriminately.

Scientists have cataloged over

70 different species that lionfish
will eat through stomach content
analysis. In addition to the fish
they eat, they also eat
invertebrates and mollusks
shrimp, crabs, juvenile octopus,
squid, juvenile lobster, sea
horses, etc.

What is being done to control

the Lionfish Overpopulation in
the Invasive Areas?

Track the lionfish population.

Although more sightings in recent years
suggest that more lionfish are present,
that may not be the case. It could
simply be that more public awareness
has led to more reports. A monitoring
program is needed to determine if the
number of lionfish is actually growing.

Conduct more research.

Scientists' ability to predict the
lionfish's future abundance, and its
effects on the ecosystem is greatly
hindered by a lack of knowledge.
Research is needed to determine the
lionfish's ability to survive, reproduce,
and grow in the Atlantic Ocean.

Eating the Lionfish

Although it is not advised locally (due to
the preparation techniques), the lionfish
flaky white meat are much more
healthier than that of snapper which is a
commonly eaten fish here in the
Caribbean. These are also high in
Omega 3 acids and low in lead and
mercury concentration.

Educate the Public

People need to know that it can be harmful to
release aquarium fishes into bodies of water. In
the United States and throughout the Caribbean,
people should be alerted to the presence of
lionfish and encouraged to report sightings. At the
same time, people should be cautioned against
handling lionfish and made aware of the health
risks from their stings.




Presented by : Group 4
Group Members: Vevekeanand Ramnarace
Areeb Rodney
Christian Shivrattan
Johnathan Ramcharran
Sachin Ramroop
Gimel Dick
Renecia Garaway
Nicolaus Jordan
Rajeev Kumar