Lionfish Volitan (Pterois volitans)



The Lionfish Volitan has many common names, Butterfly Cod, the Turkey Fish, the Red Lionfish, and the Common Lionfish. This is a coral reef fish that is natively found in the Indo-Pacific region, but has become a huge invasive problem in the Caribbean Sea and along the East Coast of the United States.

This venomous fish is deadly and dangerous!   It has large, venomous spines that protrude from the body like a mane, giving it the common name of the lionfish.   Each spine has a sac attached to it where the venom is housed.   When threatened, the fish often faces its attacker in an upside-down posture which brings its spines to bear.   If a human is envenomed, that person will experience extreme pain, and possibly headaches, vomiting, and breathing difficulties.

These Lionfish are clad in white stripes alternated with red, maroon, or brown. It also has large, fan-like pectoral fins, and tall, banded spines on the dorsal fin. Adults can grow as large as 17 inches in length.   They can live up to 10 years.

The lionfish themselves are voracious feeders and will feed on smaller fish every chance they get.   When hunting, they corner prey using their large fins, then use their quick reflexes to swallow the prey whole. They hunt primarily from late afternoon to dawn.

There are no definitive predators of the lionfish and overpopulation is quickly becoming problem.


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