lionfish

lionfish

[lahy-uhn-fish]

Any of several species of showy Indo-Pacific fish of the scorpion-fish family (Scorpaenidae), noted for their venomous fin spines, which can inflict painful, though rarely fatal, puncture wounds. Lionfish have enlarged pectoral fins and elongated dorsal fin spines, and each species bears a particular pattern of bold stripes. When disturbed, the fish spread and display their fins, and, if further pressed, present and attack with the dorsal spines. Pterois volitans, sometimes kept by fish fanciers, is striped with red, brown, and white and grows to about 12 in. (30 cm) long. Several smaller Indo-Pacific species of the genus Dendrochirus are also known as lionfish.

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A Lionfish is any of several species of venomous marine fish in the genera Pterois, Parapterois, Brachypterois, Ebosia or Dendrochirus, of the family Scorpaenidae. The lionfish is also known as the Turkey Fish, Dragon Fish or Scorpion Fish. They are notable for their extremely long and separated spines, and have a generally striped appearance, red, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon, or white.

Native environment

The lionfish is native to the tropical Indo-Pacific region of the world, but various species can be found worldwide. Due to a recent introduction, the lionfish has recently been spotted in the warmer coral regions of the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Lionfish are an invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea regions. Successful breeding of the lionfish in captivity has not been looked upon.

Size

The common lionfish generally reaches a size of 30-35cm. Smaller lionfish (e.g., the Fuzzy Dwarf) are typically the size of a tennis ball (not including fins). There are many types of lionfish that vary in size. The lionfish has been one of the most venomous fish in the ocean bottom floor.

Venom

Lionfish have venomous spines that are deadly to their prey, but usually not to humans (though the venom is used purely for defense, not attack). If a human is envenomed, that person will experience severe pain and possible headaches and vomiting. A common treatment is soaking the afflicted area in hot water, as very few hospitals carry specific treatments. However, immediate emergency medical treatment is still advised, as some people may be more susceptible to the venom than others.

Feeding

Lionfish are voracious predators. When hunting, they corner prey using their large fins and then use their quick reflexes to swallow the prey whole. In captivity, lionfish can be trained to eat frozen brine shrimp, mysis, and krill.

References

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