Lionfish

Lionfish Introduction

Pterois is a genus of venomous marine fish, commonly known as Lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific. The Lionfish is a predatory fish hunting small fish, but its venom is capable of being fatal to larger creatures.

The Lionfish is a popular aquarium fish around the world, although the Lionfish is better kept in tanks with lots of space and few other fish. The Lionfish can live to around 16 years in the wild and often live longer if looked after well in captivity.

There are around 8 different recognized species of Lionfish that are found in the Pacific Ocean. The Lionfish is natively found in coastal waters around rocky crevices and coral reefs where there are lots of smaller fish for the Lionfish to eat and also places for the Lionfish to hide.

The main predators of the Lionfish are large fish, eels and humans that catch the Lionfish to put into a tank. Although the Lionfish is a solitary animal and they only really come together to mate, a few Lionfish inhabit a certain area of the reef.

The Lionfish group usually contains one male and a few female Lionfish that the male mates with. The male Lionfish is highly territorial and protects the area in which by himself and his females live.

Keywords to learn

Crevice: A narrow opening or fissure, especially in a rock or wall.

Invasive: Tending to spread very quickly and undesirable or harmfully.


About Me

Hey Kids, my name is Lee the Lionfish and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @ www.kids.nationalgeographic.com

Key Lionfish Data

  • Order:
    Scorpaeniformes.
  • Lifespan:
    10 – 18 years.
  • Class:
    Actinopterygii.
  • Scientific Name:
    Pterois volitans.
  • Mass:
    453.5-907.1 grams(1-2 pounds)
  • Length:
    30cm – 35cm (12in – 14in).
  • Region found:
    The Indo-Pacific Region, including the Red Sea.
  • Population Status:
    Least concern.
  • Current population trend:
    Increasing.
  • Diet:
    Carnivorous.
  • Sexual maturity:
    1 year.

The Lionfish is an amazingly beautiful and wonderful looking fish. Its colors are amazing as you can see from the pictures in the article.

Now that you know more about the Lionfish by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.

 

Download questions about the lionfish here: Lionfish (answers are on this page)

 

Teachers. For more in depth work sheets on the lionfish. Click on Kidskonnect. Worksheets

Lionfish Fun Facts for Kids

  • # 1. The Lionfish catches its prey by hiding in a crevice in the rock or coral and then ambushing it as it swims past. The Lionfish corners its prey with its large fins before swallowing it whole.
  • # 2. The female Lionfish releases between 2,000 and 15,000 eggs into the water which are fertilized by the male Lionfish. The Lionfish pair then quickly hide so that their eggs can float into the ocean before being spotted by predators that eat the eggs. The Lionfish eggs hatch in just 2 days and the tiny Lionfish fry remain near the surface of the water until they are bigger. When the Lionfish fry reach nearly an inch in length, they swim down into the ocean to join the reef community.
  • # 3. The Lionfish is also an invasive species, originally from the Indian and Western Pacific oceans. It was brought into Florida as an aquarium fish, and after a hurricane broke some of the aquariums containing the fish, they started to appear around the lower coast of Florida. They have now spread all the way up to Long Island, New York.
  • # 4. When scientists do dives to study the Lionfish, sometimes they kill one, and trace its DNA. The odd thing lately, is that all the fish trace back to an original six or seven Lionfish from the ocean in which they came.
  • # 5. Lionfish has more than thirteen (up to 18) venomous spines on the back side of the body. Venom is used only for self-defense (lionfish does not hunt using these spikes).

Q&A Corner

  • # 1. What genus does the lionfish belong to?
  • # 2. How long can a lionfish live for?
  • # 3. Is the current population trend of the lionfish increasing, stable or decreasing?
  • # 4. How many eggs can a female lionfish release in the water?
  • # 5. What is the most number of venomous spines that a lionfish can have?

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