Lionfish

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The lionfish is also known as the Turkey Fish, Dragon Fish, Scorpion or Fire Fish. They are notable for their extremely long and separated spines, and have a generally striped appearance, red, green, navy green, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon, or white. The lionfish is native to the tropical Indo-Pacific region of the world, but various species can be found worldwide. Due to a recent introduction, the lionfish has recently been spotted in the warmer coral regions of the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. This introduction was most likely caused when a hurricane destroyed an aquarium in southern Florida. DNA from captured lionfish in this region shows that they all originated from the same six or seven fish. There are many types of lionfish that vary in size. The common lionfish generally reaches a size of 30cm to 35cm , while smaller lionfish, like the Fuzzy Dwarf, are typically the size of a tennis ball, not including fins. In the Caribbean where lionfish aren't native, they grow to a size of up to 55cm. The lionfish is one of the most venomous fish on the ocean floor. Lionfish have venomous dorsal spines that are used purely for defense. When threatened, the fish often faces its attacker in an upside down posture which brings its spines to bear. However, a lionfish's sting is usually not fatal to humans. If a human is envenomed, that person will experience extreme pain, and possibly headaches, vomiting, and breathing difficulties. A common treatment is soaking the afflicted area in hot water, as very few hospitals carry specific treatments. Lionfish are voracious predators. When hunting, they corner prey using their large fins and then use their quick reflexes to swallow the prey whole. They hunt primarily from late afternoon to dawn. In captivity, lionfish can be trained to eat frozen brine shrimp, mysis, and krill. Two of the nine species of Pterois, the red lionfish and the common lionfish, have established themselves as significant invasive species off the East Coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. About 93% of the invasive population in the Western Atlantic is P. volitans. The red lionfish is found off the East Coast of the United States and the Caribbean Sea, and was likely first introduced off the Florida coast in the early to mid-1990s. It has been speculated that this introduction may have been caused when Hurricane Andrew destroyed an aquarium in southern Florida, It is also believed that six lionfish were accidentally released in Biscayne Bay, Florida after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. However, a more recent report states National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ecologist James Morris Jr. has discovered that a lionfish was discovered off the coast of south Florida prior to Hurricane Andrew in 1985.[READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]







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