Pterois Volitans - The Red Lionfish | Riverhead, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Artist's Description

Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class:Actinopterygii
Order:Scorpaeniformes
Family:Scorpaenidae
Subfamily:Pteroinae
Genus:Pterois
Species:P. volitans
Binomial name
Pterois volitans
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The red lionfish (Pterois volitans) is a venomous, coral reef fish in the family Scorpaenidae, order Scorpaeniformes. P. 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. This and a similar species, Pterois miles, have both been deemed as invasive species. Red lionfish are clad in white stripes alternated with red/maroon/brown stripes. Adults in this species can grow as large as 47 cm (18.5 in) in length, making it one of the largest species of lionfish in the ocean, while juveniles are typically shorter than 1 inch (2.5 cm). The average red lionfish lives around 10 years. As with many species within the Scopaenidae family, it has large, venomous spines that protrude from the body, similar to a mane, giving it the common name lionfish. The venomous spines make the fish inedible or deter most potential predators. Lionfish reproduce monthly and are able to quickly disperse during their larval stage for expansion of their invasive region. No definitive predators of the lionfish are known, and many organizations are promoting the harvest and consumption of lionfish in efforts to prevent further increases in the already high population densities. Read more

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