Where might you meet them? Throughout Bermuda’s waters, from shallow reefs, to up to 300m below the surface.
- Lionfish are native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and are often kept as aquarium pets.
- Lionfish were introduced to the Atlantic ocean in the 1980s. Some believe that a few aquarium specimens were released off the east coast of the U.S., and were subsequently swept down to Bermuda in a hurricane. They first appeared in Bermuda in 2001.
- They are indiscriminate predators, feeding mostly on small fish and crustaceans. A study by lionfish researchers found that lionfish were developing liver disease because they were becoming obese eating so much prey. This is because in the Pacific, lionfish are opportunistic, eating as much as they can, when they can, because catching prey can be a rare occurrence. In the Atlantic, prey is easily found, but the lionfish never developed a sense of feeling full.
- They have no natural predators in the Atlantic, and prey do not see them as a threat as they have never encountered them before.
- Female lionfish can lay up to 2 million eggs per year.
- Lionfish have 18 venomous spines, but when removed they are a delicious white meat fish. Reef.org has released a lionfish cookbook as part of the eat ’em to beat ’em initiative.
- You can help eliminate the threat of invasive lionfish on our reefs by getting certified to dive and spearfish them.