Common Lionfish, Pterois volitans (Linnaeus 1758)
A Lionfish, Pterois volitans, at North Solitary Island, New South Wales, December 2015. Source: Ian Shaw / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial
This striking scorpionfish is an active predator that stalks its prey with its pectoral fins outstretched.
The fin spines a highly venomous and can inflict excruciatingly painful puncture wounds.
The Common Lionfish is highly invasive in the Western Atlantic, and is having a devastating effect on reef fish populations and the corals themselves.
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Common Lionfish, Pterois volitans (Linnaeus 1758)
Known in Australian waters from about Rottnest Island (Western Australia) around the tropical north to southern New South Wales; also Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, reefs in the Coral Sea, the Lord Howe Island region and Norfolk Island.
Elsewhere, widespread in the tropical Indo-West Pacific, from Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, to French Polynesia and the Line Islands, north to southern Japan, and south to northern New Zealand.
The Common Lionfish inhabits lagoons and seaward reefs, from shallow inshore waters to dpeths of almost 130 m in Australia.
|This voracious predator feeds mostly at night by stalking and cornering its prey with its huge outstretched pectoral fins. Prey includes fishes and crustaceans.|
Most spines have venom glands at the base and operate like a hypodermic syringe. When the spine is depressed through contact, venom containing a neurotoxin is released into the puncture wound.
The Common Lionfish has been introduced into the Western Atlantic, and is now well-established in a wide area from Cape Hatteras to Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean.
The species is a highly invasive voracious predator, preying on reef fishes unaccustomed to lionfishes.
By severely reducing the population of herbivores, lionfishes in the Atlantic are also having a devastating affect on reefs which are being smothered by algae.
|Gasterosteus volitans Linnaeus 1758, Systema Naturae 1: 296. Type locality: Ambon Island, Indonesia|
Bray, D.J. 2017
Common Lionfish, Pterois volitans (Linnaeus 1758)
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