Overview

Brief Summary

The Indo-Pacific lionfishes Pterois miles and P. volitans (in the scorpionfish family, Scorpaenidae) were at one time not distinguished from each other, but today they are widely recognized as distinct species based on morphometric and mitochondrial DNA analyses (Hamner et al. 2007; Betancur-R. et al. 2011; Eschmeyer 2012). Both of these predatory, venomous species have achieved notoriety during the past decade as they have invaded the western Atlantic with extraordinary speed, raising major concerns about their impacts on native hard-bottom, mangrove, seagrass, and coral reef communities. These lionfishes have now been far more thoroughly studied in the western Atlantic than in their native range. In a study in the Bahamas (Green et al. 2012), lionfish abundance was found to have increased rapidly between 2004 and 2010, by which time lionfish accounted for nearly 40% of the total predator biomass in the system. This increase in lionfish abundance coincided with a rapid (over just two years) 65% decline in the biomass of the 42 Atlantic fishes recorded as lionfish prey.

The lionfish invasion has spread all along the coastal Yucatan Peninsula, including the entire Mesoamerican coral reef, and throughout the Caribbean as far as Venezuela (Valdez-Moreno et al. 2012). Lionfish were first recorded in the western Atlantic in 2000. They have been established from Miami to North Carolina (U.S.A.) since 2002, around the Greater Antilles since 2007, and around the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico since 2009. Lionfish were numerous around Bermuda by 2004 and established in the Bahamas by 2005. Since 2009, lionfish have extended their range to include the Caribbean coasts of Mexico and Central and South America to Venezuela. It is unclear whether they will be able to spread south of Brazil or Uruguay. Juveniles can be found as far north as Rhode Island (U.S.A.), but under current climate conditions they apparently cannot withstand winter temperatures north of North Carolina. Lionfishes are the first nonnative marine fishes to establish in the western North Atlantic and Caribbean, although at one time or another dozens of of non-native marine fishes (most from the Indo-Pacific) have been documented in the coastal waters off Florida. (Schofield 2010) The native range for P. volitans is the Indo-West Pacific: Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean and in the western Pacific from French Polynesia and the Line Islands to Australia and Japan. The native range for P. miles is in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean: East and South Africa, Madagascar, and the Mascarenes east to Indonesia; P. miles has reached the Mediterranean Sea from the Red Sea through the Suez Canal. (Eschmeyer 2012)

The establishment of lionfish in the western Atlantic is believed to be the result of accidental or intentional releases from aquaria. Genetic analyses have revealed a striking reduction in genetic diversity in introduced populations relative to their native ranges (Hamner et al. 2007; Betancur-R. et al. 2011), but this has not caused any obvious problems for these new populations, which reach densities far higher than do populations in their native range (Kulbicki et al. 2012). Mitochondrial DNA screening of western Atlantic lionfish has shown that while P. miles is restricted to the northernmost locations (Bermuda and the east coast of the United States), P. volitans is ubiquitous and much more abundant (Betancur-R. et al. 2011).  Discouragingly, modeling by Barbour et al. (2011) suggests that effective lionfish removal programs would be very difficult to implement and maintain.

The venom-packing spines of lionfish pose a danger to anyone handling them.

Albins and Lyons (2012) reported a previously undescribed technique used by P. volitans to capture fish prey. While slowly approaching prey, lionfish produce jets of water directed toward their prey. These jets may confuse or distract prey and often result in prey fish facing the attacking lionfish, increasing the probability of head-first capture and swallowing.

Morris et al. (2009) provided an overview of the biology and ecology of P. volitans and P. miles.

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Comprehensive Description

Biology

Lives in coastal waters in muddy habitats (Ref. 48635). Fin spines highly venomous, may cause human death (Ref. 30573).
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Distribution

Indian Ocean: Red Sea south to Port Alfred, South Africa and east to Sumatra, Indonesia (Ref. 33390). Also known in eastern Mediterranean (Ref. 37421).
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Red Sea, Indian Ocean: East and South Africa, Madagascar and Mascarenes east to Indonesia; Mediterranean Sea immigrant; invasive in the Western Atlantic.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 13; Dorsal soft rays (total): 9 - 11; Analspines: 3; Analsoft rays: 6 - 7
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Size

Maximum size: 350 mm SL
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Max. size

35.0 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 30573))
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Diagnostic Description

Reddish to tan or grey in color, with numerous thin dark bars on body and head; tentacle above eye may be faintly banded (Ref. 4313). Adults have a band of small spines along the cheek and small spots in the median fins (Ref. 48635).
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

reef-associated; marine; depth range ? - 60 m (Ref. 30573)
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Depth range based on 25 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 12 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0.15 - 150
  Temperature range (°C): 23.099 - 28.006
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.052 - 3.206
  Salinity (PPS): 34.563 - 40.307
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.072 - 4.700
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.122 - 0.507
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.699 - 4.922

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0.15 - 150

Temperature range (°C): 23.099 - 28.006

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.052 - 3.206

Salinity (PPS): 34.563 - 40.307

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.072 - 4.700

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.122 - 0.507

Silicate (umol/l): 1.699 - 4.922
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 0 - 60m.
Recorded at 60 meters.

Habitat: demersal. Devil firefish.  (Bennett, 1828)  Attains at least 31 cm. Port Alfred northwards to Red Sea and to eastern Indian Ocean.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Pterois miles

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 15 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CTATATCTGGTATTTGGTGCCTGAGCCGGCATAGTAGGCACAGCCTTG---AGCCTGCTTATTCGAGCAGAACTTAGCCAACCGGGCGCTCTGTTGGGAGAC---GACCAAATCTATAATGTAATTGTTACAGCCCATGCTTTCGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTAATACCAATCATAATTGGGGGTTTTGGAAACTGGCTTATCCCGCTGATG---ATTGGGGCGCCAGACATGGCATTTCCCCGTATAAATAACATGAGTTTTTGACTTCTCCCCCCTTCTTTCCTCCTTCTCCTGGCCTCTTCAGGGGTTGAGGCAGGGGCTGGAACAGGATGAACTGTTTACCCCCCCTTGGCGGGCAATCTTGCCCATGCCGGGGCATCTGTTGACCTA---ACAATTTTCTCCTTGCACTTAGCAGGCATTTCATCAATCCTAGGGGCAATCAATTTTATTACAACAATTATTAATATAAAACCCCCAGCTATCTCCCAATACCAAACTCCGCTGTTTGTATGGGCTGTCTTAATTACGGCAGTTCTTTTACTTCTCTCACTCCCGGTCCTTGCCGCC---GGTATCACAATACTGCTCACTGATCGGAACCTAAACACCACCTTCTTTGACCCAGCGGGGGGAGGAGACCCAATTCTTTACCAACATCTC
-- end --

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pterois miles

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 19
Specimens with Barcodes: 26
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

aquarium: commercial
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Wikipedia

Pterois miles

"P. Miles" redirects here. For the music artist, see P. Miles Bryson.

The common lionfish or devil firefish, Pterois miles, is a species of ray-finned fish native to the western Indo-Pacific region, and is frequently confused with its close relative, the red lionfish (P. volitans). The scientific name is from Greek pteron, wing, and Latin miles, soldier.

Description[edit]

The common lionfish grows up to 35 cm (14 in) in length. The dorsal fin has 13 long, strong spines and nine to 11 soft rays, and the anal fin has three long spines and six to seven soft rays. The dorsal fin appears feathery and the pectoral fins are wing-like with separate broad, smooth rays. These fish vary in colour from reddish to tan or grey and have numerous thin, dark, vertical bars on their head and body.[1] Its head is less angular than that of P. volitans.

Behaviour[edit]

The common lionfish is mainly nocturnal and may hide in crevices during the daytime. It feeds on fish and small crustaceans. It has few predators, probably because of its venomous spines, but larger lionfish do prey on smaller ones. The bluespotted cornetfish (Fistularia commersonii) has been shown to feed on it, as also do groupers in the Bahamas.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

P. miles is native to the Indian Ocean, from the Red Sea, to South Africa, and to Indonesia; it is also known in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is very similar in appearance to P. volitans, which does not occur in the Red Sea, and it has recently been reported in the southeastern Mediterranean Sea, near Cyprus. This fish is usually found in areas with crevices or lagoons, often on the outer slopes of coral reefs.[3] It is also now present off the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean Sea where is regarded as an invasive species.[2]

Hazards[edit]

The fin spines are highly venomous and have caused death to humans.[1]

Images[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Pterois miles, Devil firefish". Fishbase.org. 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  2. ^ a b Schofield, P J; Morris, J A Jr; Langston, J N; Fuller, P L (2012-09-18). "Lionfish: Pterois volitans/miles". Nonindigenous Aquatic Species. USGS. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  3. ^ Siliotti, A. (2002) fishes of the red sea Verona, Geodia ISBN 88-87177-42-2
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