Pterois is a genus of venomous marine fish, commonly known as lionfish.
Lionfish are known for their venomous fin rays, an uncommon feature among marine fish in the East Coast coral reefs. The potency of their venom makes them excellent predators and venomous to fishermen and divers. Pterois venom can cause systemic effects such as extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, breathing difficulties, convulsions, dizziness, redness on the affected area, headache, numbness, paresthesia (pins and needles), heartburn, diarrhea, and sweating. Rarely, such stings can cause temporary paralysis of the limbs, heart failure, and even death.
Lionfish are skilled hunters, using specialized bilateral swim bladder muscles to provide exquisite control of location in the water column, allowing the fish to alter its center of gravity to better attack prey. The lionfish then spreads its large pectoral fins and swallows its prey in a single motion.
Lionfish have few identified natural predators, likely from the effectiveness of their venomous spines. Moray eels, bluespotted cornetfish, and large groupers, like the tiger grouper and Nassau grouper, have been observed preying on lionfish. It remains unknown, however, how commonly these predators prey on lionfish. Sharks are also believed to be capable of preying on lionfish with no ill effects from their spines. Park officials of the Roatan Marine Park in Honduras have attempted to train sharks to feed on lionfish as of 2011 in an attempt to control the invasive populations in the Caribbean. Predators of larvae and juvenile lionfish remain unknown, but may prove to be the primary limiting factor of lionfish populations in their native range.
The lionfish is a predator native to the Indo-Pacific. It aggressively preys on small fish and invertebrates. They can be found around the seaward edge of reefs and coral, in lagoons, and on rocky surfaces to 50 m deep. Two species of Pterois, the red lionfish (P. volitans) and the common lionfish (P. miles), have established themselves as significant invasive species off the East Coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. They have been described as “one of the most aggressively invasive species on the planet”. They resemble those of the Philippines, implicating the aquarium trade.
The lionfish invasion is considered to be one of the most serious recent threats to Caribbean and Florida coral reef ecosystems.
Lionfish eat herbivores and herbivores eat algae from coral reefs. Without herbivores, algal growth goes unchecked, which can be detrimental to the health of coral reefs. […]
Whole Foods has begun selling fresh lionfish. Employees at stores carrying the fish have been trained to remove the spines, leaving white fish meat that’ll go for $8.99 per pound.