Lionfish inhabit warm regions from the Red Sea across the Indian Ocean to Australia and the Pacific.
This species of fish is found in the shallow waters around coral reefs, caves or rocky areas.
- Lionfish are 11.8-15 inches (30-38 cm) long.
- They weigh about two and a half pounds (1.2 kg).
- These fish are cryptically colored with complex patterns of red, black, brown and white spots, lines and swirls.
- Their fanlike dorsal, pectoral and anal fins are stout and sharp.
- Their grooved spines are equipped with venom used for defense.
- They have heavy bodies that are laterally compressed.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: Fish, crabs, shrimp and occasionally plankton.
At the zoo: Shrimp.
What Eats It?
Larger fish prey on the lionfish.
Lionfish are solitary except during breeding.
Male lionfish will mate with several females. After the fish spawn, they rise to the top of the water column and release gelatinous balls of eggs each containing about 2,000 fertilized eggs. The egg balls dissolve after about 24 hours, releasing the individual eggs which hatch in about 36 hours. Even though thousands of eggs hatch, very few young fry will survive to maturity. The young fry immediately begin feeding on the available plankton or newly hatched brine shrimp. The young are almost transparent. They develop the beautiful colors and patterns of the adult lionfish as they mature. Their lifespan in the wild is unknown but they live approximately ten years in captivity.