or volitans are venomous
fish belonging to the family Scorpaenidae whose literal translation
scorpion fish. There are five genera and 16 individual species commonly
referred to as lionfish. Their natural habitant is among the reefs and
crevices of the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea. This
species is not native to warmer tropical regions of the world. Recently
established populations have appeared in the Eastern Atlantic, the
and the Mediterranean
They are becoming
more and more common place off the Florida
to Like Us!
lionfish is inarguably one of
the most exotic creatures you will ever see in a home aquarium. They
are one of
the most prized fish in the aquarium trade. There are 11 species from
distinct genera (Pterois and Dendrochris) readily available to home
The Dendriochirus lionfish’s fins form a solid fan with
individual fin rays
held together by a connective membrane. Pterois lionfish have long
rays that are individually sheathed by the membrane. The fins on a
extend well past their tail. There is one species of lionfish, the
sphex, which resides only in the waters off the shorelines of the Hawaiian Islands.
Regardless of the species everything
about these fish, from its regal fanned main to its cantankerous
says, “You don’t want to mess with me.”
This fish is also marketed under the
aquarium trade names turkey fish, dragon fish, scorpion and fire fish.
lionfish have distinctive
fins as well as fin and body striping. Color palettes and size are
to species. Dwarf lion fish only reach an adult length of 5-6 inches
and can be
kept in an aquarium as small as 30 gallons. Other species can grow to
of 15 inches and will require a 75-100 gallon tank. These are among the
poisonous creatures found in the ocean and should only be kept by
are voracious predators.
There are very few species in the wild that would even consider
more or less attempting to eat it. Strangely enough, their venomous
not used for the purpose of predation. They rely on their natural
and split-second reflexes for hunting. Lionfish capture their
boxing it in with their large fins and then swallowing it whole. Their
used strictly as a means of defense. When threatened the lionfish will
its opponent with its up to 18 needle-like dorsal spines erect and
neutralize the aggressor.
to its predatory and venomous
nature lionfish are best suited for a mono-species or multiple lionfish
tank. You can keep more than one in an aquarium. You will want to take
fish’s current and potential adult size into consideration.
Lionfish have been
known to prey on one another.
fish are carnivorous.
Smaller fish can be fed frozen carnivorous marine food products. They
readily eat brine shrimp. Larger fish should be fed feeder shrimp or
not generally marketed
for consumption, lionfish are considered a culinary delicacy in some
1992 a Category 5 hurricane,
Hurricane Andrew, ripped through the Caribbean capsizing boats and
public aquarium in southern Florida.
By 2000 there began to be sightings of Lionfish (a venomous and highly
predatory species endemic to the Indo-Pacific) along the coast of Florida.
non-indigenous prorogation of this species created concern among
ecologists. Adult Lionfish are capable of reproducing every
55 days year
round. Their eggs are released to drift way with the currents. Within
years, lionfish had been reported in Georgia,
the Carolinas, Bermuda and the Bahamas.
They have since spread from as far north as Rhode
to as far south as Belize.
species has multiplied at a
rate that was previosly unimaginable to marine biologists. In
single decade they have transformed from being nonexsistent to
pervasive, eating or starving out indigenous populations, disrupting
fishing and threatening the safety of tourist wherever they take root.
testing confirm that this underwater invasion was the direct result of
offspring of as few as three but probably not more than six lionfish
introduced into the equation. Scientists speculate that the initial
introduction of these species was an unforeseen result of Hurricane
It is yet to be determined the full extent of human and
dangers these creatures will pose in their new breeding grounds. All
to contain their propagation and prevent them from establishing feral
populations in the Western