Pterois, more commonly known as lionfish, is native to the Indo-Pacific region. It is considered an invasive species anywhere in the Atlantic and can be found all around the Caribbean and along the Gulf and east coast of the US. The Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans) is marked by alternating white and reddish stripes, can grow to almost 20 inches and lives an average of 10 years. Like its relatives in the Scorpaenidae (scorpion fish) family, it has long, venomous spines. It lacks any local predators which has led to problems within the ecological balance around coral reef communities where the lionfish makes its home. It is a voracious eater and it reproduces frequently. All of this combines to a significant threat to our reef fish community and many conservation organizations promote the hunting of this predator. As it turns out, lionfish are quite delicious when properly prepared. To find out more (science, harvest, cleaning, recipes) read my blog 'Reef Menace'.
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