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Red Lionfish

Scientific Name: Pterois volitans

Photo courtesy of ©Richard W. Rokes.


The red lionfish is a venomous beauty. Long, ornate spines along the sides and back of this species hide a sting that is deadly to predators.


This species’ natural range is the Indian and Pacific Oceans; however, within the last 15 years, the lionfish has become an aquatic invader in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. The red lionfish is considered an invasive species that could have a detrimental effect on native fish and crustacean populations.

View invasion time-lapse map.



Did You Know?

Scientists have recently discovered a unique strategy used by the lionfish to capture prey. This master hunter will slowly approach its prey while blowing jets of water. Small waves from the jets cause disorientation in the prey, allowing the lionfish to get close enough to strike.

Watch video.