Lionfish

Pterois volitans

Lionfish, also known as lion fish, zebrafish, firefish, turkeyfish, red lionfish, butterfly cod, ornate butterfly-cod, peacock lionfish, red firefish, scorpion volitans, are an invasive species originally native only to the Pacific Ocean. They are voracious feeders on the reef with few natural predators in the Atlantic.


Caution should be observed when near lionfish to avoid the numerous projecting venomous spines capable of inflicting painful wounds even through wetsuits.



Lionfish began showing up in the Atlantic early in the 21st century and by 2005 the population began to explode across reefs.  It is thought that an accidental release may have occurred as far back as Hurricane Andrew and the population rise went without notice until recently.

Lionfish populations are currently being tracked by several government and non-profit  organizations including NOAA, USGS and REEF.ORG.  These groups rely chiefly on accurate reports submitted by diver observations and have set up mechanisms whereby sightings can be sent to them




To report a lionfish sighting directly to the FAU DSO, email information to ehs@fau.edu or fax to 561-297-2210.  Be sure to include your name, email, specific sighting location (GPS if available), the size and number, time and date of sighting.  To report a sighting directly to the interested agency, follow the link below.  Be sure to only report the sighting once to avoid duplication of shared data among agencies.

REEF.org

USGS.gov

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 Last Modified 8/26/12