Lionfish take advantage of their camouflage to stalk their prey. When they are
close enough, lionfish quickly open their jaws to snap up their prey. Lionfish
always swallow their food whole.

Size  About 15 inches

Diet  Small fishes, shrimps and crabs

Lifespan  5-10 years

Range  Lionfish are native to the tropical Pacific and Indian oceans, but have recently been
found in the Atlantic Ocean, far from their natural home.

Habitat  Coral reefs and shallow bays

Predators  Few. Some fishes may try to eat them, but lionfishes' venomous spines
protect them from most predators.

Relatives  Lionfishes belong to the scorpionfish family, which includes some of the
most venomous fishes in the oceans.

Family life Most marine fishes, including lionfish, are external spawners. The male expels sperm immediately after the female releases her eggs, and the eggs are fertilized as they float in the water. These eggs and the newly hatched larvae drift in ocean currents for 25 to 40 days. Once the hatchlings are large enough to swim, they leave the currents to hide among corals and rocks. It probably takes 1 or 2 years for these hatchlings to reach breeding age.

Conservation status  Stable  Lionfishes are not threatened, but they have recently been found in the Caribbean and along the East Coast, as far north as Long Island, NY. The presence of these Pacific fishes in the Atlantic threatens many species that have not evolved defenses to these voracious predators.

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