Lionfish Research Paper

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Lionfish as an Invasive Species The lionfish is a relatively recent addition to the Atlantic Ocean, but it is already widely known as an invasive species. Lionfish, or pterois volitans, are native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Lionfish are usually eleven to fifteen inches long and have brown and white stripes covering their body. They have feathery pectoral fins that they use to corner prey and venomous dorsal fin spines that they use to defend themselves. They feed mainly on smaller fish, crabs, and shrimp and can range from eleven to fifteen inches in length. The unique appearance of lionfish has made them a popular aquarium pet, which is likely how the species was introduced. Aquarium release is believed to be the main method of introduction…show more content…
However, there have also been lionfish sightings as far north as New York and as far south as Bermuda. There is also strong evidence that lionfish will soon be invading the Caribbean. Lionfish are considered invasive because they are not native to the Atlantic Ocean and are making a large impact on the food chain. Lionfish eat an extremely large variety of fish that are native to the Atlantic Ocean but have no natural predators themselves, even in their native regions. Research has shown that as the number of lionfish increases, the ecologically important species are becoming less likely to reach maturity. Similarly, lionfish are also consuming large amounts of fish that humans also consume. Lionfish are limiting the human food supply by making it less likely that certain species will reach fisheries. As the lionfish population grows unhindered by predators, the ecologically and economically valuable species are being threatened. The presence of lionfish could have a long-term effect on the fish market industry if these trends continue. Other than this potential outcome, lionfish have no specific economic impact. However, they are economically valuable in the aquarium industry. In short, lionfish are throwing off the balance of the Atlantic ecosystem and harming the native fish

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