Lionfish Expansion from 1985 to 2013
Watch how quickly lionfish have spread since the first Bermuda sighting in 2000. This display runs from 1985 to 2013 and takes about 23 seconds from start to finish.
Bermuda Lionfish Fact Sheet
(Pterois volitans & Pterois miles)
The invasion of lionfish poses a major threat to the Western Atlantic and Bermuda's marine ecosystem Origins:
- Lionfish are an invasive species in the Western Atlantic and are likely to cause economic and environmental harm
- Lionfish originate from the Indo-Pacific Region
- It is believed that they were introduced into the Atlantic in the late 1980s by local aquariums or fish hobbyists in Florida
- Lionfish have now spread throughout the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, South America and as far north as Massachusetts - and now they are in Bermuda Behaviour
- Lionfish prey on species which are commercially, recreationally and ecologically important
- Lionfish are indiscriminate predators that consume more than 70 species of fish and many invertebrate species such as shrimp and crab
- Lionfish can reduce juvenile fish populations on a reef by nearly 90% in as little as five weeks
- Lionfish can eat up to 30 times their own stomach volume
- Lionfish have been found with more than 30 fish in their stomach
- Lionfish have no known predators in our region so their population can increase exponentially
- Lionfish become capable of reproduction in less than a year - it takes our native fish 3-5 years!
- Reproduction can occur about every 4 days throughout the year
- In the Caribbean, a single female lionfish can spawn over 2 million eggs per year
- Lionfish grow rapidly, outgrowing native species with whom they compete for food and space
- Lionfish are relatively resistant to parasites
Impact of invasion
- In 2011, large numbers of juvenile lionfish have been sighted in Bermuda, which indicates a population explosion in our waters
- If we reach a time when lionfish are commonly found in shallower waters, we have lost the battle against controlling their population
- Large aggregations of lionfish are being found in Bermuda at depths of around 200 feet (60.96 meters) - that is where the battle to control their population growth will place
- Lionfish spines deliver a venomous sting that can last for days and cause extreme pain
- Lionfish have 13 long venomous dorsal spines, 2 short venomous pelvic spines and 3 venomous anal spines
- If stung, immerse the injured area in hot water and seek medical attention
Delicious to eat
- "Eat 'em to Beat 'em!" Lionfish are edible and considered a delicacy
- Their flesh is high in omega-3 and low in heavy metals, making lionfish a healthy choice
- Lionfish are delicious and taste similar to snapper or grouper
- Once their venomous spines are removed, they can be prepared like any other fish
- Instead of eating an overfished species like grouper, make a positive contribution to the planet - Eat a lionfish!
All of Bermuda will benefit from stopping the destruction of our reefs and native fish populations.
The time to act is NOW.
Help us battle the lionfish
Lionfish can sting a person with venom-delivering spines. Although not deadly, the lionfish's sting is extremely painful and can last for days. In the wild, they are not aggressive towards people and will almost always keep their distance when given the opportunity, hence pose a relatively low risk. Care should be taken when handling a lionfish to avoid injury.
- Heart Rate changes (may be fast or slow)
- Shortness of Breath
- Nausea and Vomiting
Get out of the water immediately
Rinse the wound with clean water
Immerse the wound in hot but non-scalding water (110 to 113 F / 43.3 to 45 C) for 30 to 90 minutes
The patient should be made to lie down and the injured foot (or other body-part) should be elevated above the rest of the body
Rinse the wound again with clean water
Apply compression and Seek medical attention
Seek medical attention immediately.