Wildlife Wednesday - V is for Venomous Lionfish

The Venomous Lionfish can be Vicious 

Up to 18 sharp needle-like dorsal fins deliver a vicious venom which is vital for the protection of this vigorous creature. The lionfish is not vegetivorous but is a carnivorous fish. 

 
Looking much like a lions mane, the little fish will spread it's variegated pectoral fins and actually herd smaller fish into a corner where they are easier to prey upon. 
 
The average lionfish is between 12 - 15 inches in length, weighing up to 2.6 pounds. They can live approximately 15 years in the wild. The spines of this species deliver a sting that can last for days and cause extreme pain, sweating, respiratory distress, and even paralysis.  

   

Lionfish are prized by aquariums because of their striking looks, some even of a bright vermilion color. 

Although they are beautiful to look at, they are an invasive species now being found far too often off the coast of Florida. The Vone research Vessel, full of volunteers headed offshore from the coast of South Florida to capture some of these most beautiful voracious, havoc wreaking invaders. 

With no known predators, the lionfish are breeding at such a rapid rate in Florida waters, the native species are disappearing like vapor (practically). One large lionfish can devour more than 20 small reef fish within a 30 minute time frame. Once established, these fish will destroy our reefs and throw our ecosystem completely out of balance leaving our coral reefs to die and seaweed to take over. 

The violent lionfish is not welcome here. 

common names:  lionfish, zebrafish, firefish, turkeyfish, red lionfish, butterfly cod, ornate butterfly-cod, peacock lionfish, red firefish, scorpion volitans, devil firefish 

native region: The South Pacific and Indian Oceans (i.e., the Indo-Pacific region). The range of the lionfish covers a very large area from western Australia and Malaysia east to French Polynesia and the United Kingdom's Pitcairn Islands, north to southern Japan and southern Korea and south to Lord Howe Island off the east coast of Australia and the Kermadec Islands of New Zealand. In between, the species is found throughout Micronesia. 

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