Lionfish

Lionfish

Animal's Behavior

They move about by slowly undulating the soft rays of the dorsal and anal fins. During the day, they often retreat to ledges and crevices among the rocks and corals. They may live alone for the majority of their lives, and will fiercely defend their home ranges from other lionfish and other species of fish. However, they may live in small groups when they are juveniles and during the spawning season. Male lionfish are more aggressive than females, especially during the mating season. Males will aggressively attack other males who attempt to invade their territory.

Eating Habits

Lionfish are carnivorous, feeding mainly on crustaceans and fish. Lionfish are thought to be nocturnal hunters, but they have been found with full stomachs during the day in the Atlantic.

Range

Lionfish are native to the Indo-Pacific oceanic region which extends from western Australia and Malaysia east to French Polynesia and the Pitcairn Islands but more recently have been spotted in the warmer coral regions of the eastern Atlantic Ocean around the Azores and extending into the Mediterranean Sea, and also in the Caribbean Sea and in the Red Sea.

Conservation Efforts

Though Lionfish are not endangered, the increase in pollution in coral reefs may negatively affect the lionfish’s primary food sources (crustaceans and fish). If lionfish are unable to adapt to declines in their prey species, their numbers may decrease.

Animal Facts

  • A lionfish will often spread its feathery pectoral fins and herd small fish into a confined space where it can more easily swallow them.
  • There are approximately 22 species of Lionfish.

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Quick Facts

Scientific Name

Scorpaenidae

Classification

Animalia, Chordata, Actinopterygii, Scorpaeniformes, Scorpaenidae

Place of Birth

Indo-Pacific oceanic region

Size

10-15 inches, 2.5 pounds

Color

A generally striped appearance of red, green, navy green, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon, or white.

Lifespan

15 years in the wild

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Where to See

Audubon Aquarium