Lionfish, Pterois sp. (Characteristics, distribution and habitats, feeding habits and predation style, venom) – Video

This video was taken at Aquarium de la Mer, Sea World, California (USA) in June, 2012

Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website and video channel)

Characteristics: Lionfish have distinctive brown or maroon color, and white stripes or bands covering the head and body. Their colorful exterior helps them to blend in well with the coral reefs where they are mostly found. An adult lionfish can grow to about 0.3 – 0.4 meter in length with a weight that may reach 1.2 kg.  The life span of lionfish may range from 10-18 years in the wild with an average of about 15 years.

Distribution and habitats: Lionfish are native to the coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass and rocky crevices in marine habitats in the warm, tropical waters of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. Through its introductions especially for aquaria trade, lionfish established itself along the southeast coast of the U.S., the Caribbean, and in parts of the Gulf of Mexico. The dumping of unwanted lionfish from home aquaria provided an access for the species to natural waters in many parts of the world. Lionfish have been found in very shallow waters and also found in waters with about 300 meter depth.

Feeding habits and predation style: Lionfish are carnivores that prey on a wide variety of crabs, shrimp and fish. They catch their prey by hiding in crevices in the rocks or corals waiting for their prey to pass by. Lionfish may corner its prey using its large fins before swallowing it.

Venom: Lionfish fins have sharp spines in their dorsal fins which they use to inject potent venom whenever necessary. It is believed that the fish uses its venom as a purely defensive mechanism, when it feels threatened by its main predators such as large fish and eels. It may worth mentioning that the lionfish is considered as one of the most poisonous fish in the world. A sting caused by the lionfish is very painful to humans and can result nausea, breathing difficulties, and nausea, but is rarely fatal.

Information sources: NOAA, National Ocean Service, National Geographic,,




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