The University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse and the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce offer information about lionfish reproduction and the courtship process. About.com and The University of Southern Mississippi also provide facts about lionfish reproduction.
As the time for reproduction nears, the male lionfish darkens, and the females become lighter in color. The male uses his spines and fins to try to impress the females. Once the male finds a receptive female, they sink to the ocean floor, then rise through the water while circling each other. The female releases a mucus ball filled with thousands of eggs that floats to the surface. The male then releases sperm to fertilize the eggs. The eggs hatch within 36 hours.
Females produce as many as 30,000 eggs at a time. Since they can spawn every few days, they are capable of producing 2 million eggs per year.