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Invader on the Prowl

See video of a lionfish eating and fending off an News Illustrated attacker at Invader on the prowl Venomous lionfish have spread along the eastern U.S. coast and into the Caribbean. They could disrupt native fish populations if their numbers continue to grow. New territory A natural predator Native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, lionfish are the Lionfish have few known natural predators in their new environment and are near the top of the food chain. first exotic saltwater fish to establish Florida habitat. ASIA Pacific Ocean They are ambush predators and fan out their pectoral AFRICA Pectoral Venomous Indian Ocean All lionfish north of Cape Hatteras, N.C., were juveniles, indicating that they can't survive the cold winters. fins spines AUSTRALIA fins to corner their Native area prey, which they swallow in a single motion. NC Lionfish were likely A recent study suggests lionfish could drastically reduce other small prey fish populations in some areas by as much as 80 percent. introduced into the Atlantic Ocean in 1992 when six were released into Biscayne Bay from a broken aquarium during Hurricane Andrew. First seen in 2000 in North Carolina. By 2002, they GA were found in 41 locations. BERMUDA Spines provide defense FL Atlantic Ocean 1 The sheath is pushed down as the spine enters 2 The glandular tissue is disrupted by the movement Gulf of Mexico the victim. of the sheath. Despite being released into Biscayne Bay, lionfish have not been seen in the Florida Keys. Venom from the glandular tissue is Ridges separate glandular grooves. released into the wound. CUBA Glandular grooves contain colorless glandular tissue. 13 dorsal venom Z The swift and DOMINICAN Sheath spines warm Gulf Stream Caribbean REPUBLIC likely transported the fish eggs north. PUERTO RICO Sea JAMAICA HAITI Three anal Two venom pelvic spines venom spines Pterois volitans Emergency treatment Red lionfish live in 85 feet to 260 feet deep waters and stand their ground when threatened. They can grow as long as 18 inches. A lionfish sting causes intense pain and should be immersed in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Seek Dorsal venomous spines medical attention as soon as possible. Fleshy tentacles above the eyes and above and below the mouth may serve a The Aquatic Toxins Hotline at the Florida Poison Information Center in Miami is open 24 hours, seven days a week. Call 888-232-8635. defensive function, attract prey or be used in sexual selection. Lionfish prey on small fish and shrimp that live on or near the ocean bottom, including the young of some important Eye commercial fish. Pectoral fins They live on the hard bottom, coral reefs and artificial substrate, The soft rays sometimes hidden under are used for ledges and in crevices. swimming. Sources: James Morris, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; "The anatomy of the venom apparatus of the zebrafish, pterois volitans (linnaeus)"; Mebs, D. and Knop, D." 2004. Koralle 25:42; "The western Pacific red lionfish, Pterois volitans (Scorpaenidae), in Florida: Evidence for reproduction and parasitism in the first exotic marine fish established in state waters"; "Evolution in action-peacock-feather like supraocular tentacles of the lionfish Pterois volitans = the distribution of a new signal"; AP; U.S. Geological Survey Lindsay Dubois STAFF GRAPHIC [email protected]

Invader on the Prowl

shared by Angel on Jan 30
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Venomous lion fish have spread across Eastern U.S and Caribbean oceans. This infographic takes a look at the spread of venomous lion fish and how they can disrupt the native fish culture.


Sun Sentinel


Lindsay Dubois


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