Red Lionfish

The Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans) is a fish venomous who live coral reef  in the family Scorpaenidae, order Scorpaeniformes. Pterois volitansis natively found in the Indo-Pacific region, but has become an invasive problem in the Carribbean Sea, as well as along the East Coast of the United States. Red lionfish are clad in white stripes alternated with red/maroon/brown stripes. Adults in this species can grow as large as 38 cm in length, making it one of the largest species of lionfish in the ocean. The average red lionfish lives around 10 years. As with many species within the family Scopaenidae, it has large, venomous spines that protrude from the body, similar to a mane, giving it the common name lionfish.  The venomous spines make the fish inedible or deter most potential predator.  Lionfish reproduce monthly and are able to quickly disperse during their larval stage for expansion of their invasive region. No definitive predators of the lionfish are known, and many organizations are promoting the harvest and consumption of lionfish in efforts to prevent further increases in the already high population densities. pesce leone

Pesce Scorpione - Pesce Leone - Pterois volitans - Scorpena volante - Red Lionfish - intotheblue.it
Pesce Scorpione – Pesce Leone – Pterois volitans – Scorpena volante – Red Lionfish – intotheblue.it

They are mainly a solitary species and courting is the only time they aggregate, generally one male with several females. Both Pterois volitans and Pterois miles are gonochoristic, only showing sexual dimorphism during reproduction. Similar courtship behaviors are observed in all Pterois species, including circling, sidewinding, following, and leading. The lionfish are mostly nocturnal, leading to the behaviors typically around nightfall and continuing through the night. After courtship, the female releases two egg masses, fertilized by the male before floating to the surface. The embryos secrete an adhesive mucous allowing them to attach to nearby intertidal rocks and corals before hatching. During one mating session, females can lay up to 30,000 eggs. However, it has been observed that females will lay more eggs in the warmer months.

Pesce Scorpione - Pesce Leone - Pterois volitans - Scorpena volante - Red Lionfish - intotheblue.it
Pesce Scorpione – Pesce Leone – Pterois volitans – Scorpena volante – Red Lionfish – intotheblue.it

Lionfish venomous dorsal spines are used purely for defense. When threatened, the fish often faces its attacker in an upside-down posture which brings its spines to bear. However, its sting is usually not fatal to humans. Envenomed humans will experience extreme pain, and possibly headaches, vomiting, and breathing difficulties. A common treatment is soaking the afflicted area in hot water, as very few hospitals carry specific treatments. However, immediate emergency medical attention is strongly recommended, as some people are more sensitive to the venom than others.

(extract from Wikipedia)

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