Other Names: Red lionfish
Family: Scorpaenidae (scorpionfish), 200-388 species worldwide. Mostly marine fish that includes many of the world's most venomous species.
Size: 38 cm
Distribution: The red lionfish (Pterois volitans) is natively found in the Indo-Pacific region, but has become an invasive problem in the Caribbean Sea, as well as along the East Coast of the United States. The common lionfish (Pterois miles) is native to the Indian Ocean, from the Red Sea, to South Africa, and to Indonesia. They are both now present off the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean Sea where they are regarded as invasive species.
Status: Lionfish are not currently listed as threatened or endangered in their native range.
Habitat: This fish is usually found in areas with crevices or lagoons, often on the outer slopes of coral reefs.
About the Lionfish
The common lionfish (Pterois miles) is frequently confused with its close relative, the red lionfish (Pterois volitans).
Lionfish venomous dorsal spines 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, its sting is usually not fatal to humans, though it can be. Envenomed humans 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.
Photo: Sydney Aquarium. High Resolution 3340 x 2216.
Photo: Sydney Aquarium. High Resolution 3112 x 2116.
Photo: Sydney Aquarium. High Resolution 3856 x 2492.