[Coral-List] Lionfish in the Atlantic

Marc Kochzius kochzius at uni-bremen.de
Wed Feb 20 03:36:52 EST 2008

Dear colleagues,

there is quite some literature available on invasive lionfish in the 
Atlantic, including a genetic study. This shows that the genetic 
diversity is very low compared to natural Indo-Pacific populations, 
due to a founder effect, which is not surprising.

Title: Mitochondrial cytochrome b analysis reveals two invasive 
lionfish species with strong founder effects in the western Atlantic
Author(s): Hamner RM, Freshwater DW, Whitfield PE
Source: JOURNAL OF FISH BIOLOGY   Volume: 71   Pages: 
214-222   Supplement: Suppl. B   Published: 2007
Abstract: Lionfish (Scorpaenidae, Pteroinae) are venomous predatory 
fish that are native to the Indo-Pacific region and have recently 
become established in the western Atlantic Ocean. Since the invasion 
was first documented in 2000, the number of lionfish in the Atlantic 
has increased substantially and spurred a series of investigations 
regarding their biology and potential impacts on the ecosystem. The 
present study uses haplotypes from the mitochondria-encoded 
cytochrome b (cyt b) locus to determine the number of lionfish 
species involved in the Atlantic invasion and the decrease in genetic 
diversity that accompanied the invasion. The cyt b data reveal that 
Pterois volitans along with a small number of Pterois miles are 
present in the Atlantic Ocean and that a strong founder effect has 
resulted in a large decrease in genetic diversity compared with 
native lionfish populations.

Other studies reporting the occurrence of Pterois miles/volitans in 
the Atlantic

Title: Marine fish diversity and composition in the Mid-Atlantic and 
South Atlantic Bights
Author(s): Love JW, Chase PD
Source: SOUTHEASTERN NATURALIST   Volume: 6   Issue: 4   Pages: 
705-714   Published: 2007

Title: The Indo-Pacific red lionfish, Pterois volitans (Pisces : 
Scorpaenidae), new to Bahamian ichthyofauna
Author(s): Snyder DB, Burgess GH
Source: CORAL REEFS   Volume: 26   Issue: 1   Pages: 175-175   Published: 2007

Title: Abundance estimates of the Indo-Pacific lionfish Pterois 
volitans/miles complex in the Western North Atlantic
Author(s): Whitfield PE, Hare JA, David AW, et al.
Source: BIOLOGICAL INVASIONS   Volume: 9   Issue: 1   Pages: 
53-64   Published: 2007

Title: Fishes associated with North Carolina shelf-edge hardbottoms 
and initial assessment of a proposed marine protected area
Author(s): Quattrini AM, Ross SW
Source: BULLETIN OF MARINE SCIENCE   Volume: 79   Issue: 1   Pages: 
137-163   Published: 2006

Title: Fishes associated with North Carolina shelf-edge hardbottoms 
and initial assessment of a proposed marine protected area
Author(s): Quattrini AM, Ross SW
Source: BULLETIN OF MARINE SCIENCE   Volume: 79   Issue: 1   Pages: 
137-163   Published: 2006

Title: Further evidence for the invasion and establishment of Pterois 
volitans (Teleostei : Scorpaenidae) along the Atlantic coast of the 
United States
Author(s): Meister HS, Wyanski DM, Loefer JK, et al.
Source: SOUTHEASTERN NATURALIST   Volume: 4   Issue: 2   Pages: 
193-206   Published: 2005

Title: Thermal tolerance and potential distribution of invasive 
lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles complex) on the east coast of the 
United States
Author(s): Kimball ME, Miller JM, Whitfield PE, et al.
Source: MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES   Volume: 283   Pages: 
269-278   Published: 2004

Title: Biological invasion of the Indo-Pacific lionfish Pterois 
volitans along the Atlantic coast of North America
Author(s): Whitfield PE, Gardner T, Vives SP, et al.
Source: MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES   Volume: 235   Pages: 
289-297   Published: 2002



At 19:46 19.02.2008, you wrote:
>I would think that doing some genetic work on these fish to determine how
>closely related they are would help in determining their possible origin.
>Blaming the aquarium trade for this situation is all too convenient and lacks
>any objective evidence. If these fish came from aquarium releases, then one
>would expect all these fish off the east coast to be pretty closely related.
>The sheer numbers of fish being reported indicates to me the possibility of a
>much larger breeding population as being the more likely source, then a few
>aquarium releases. Hopefully a genetic study would shed more light on this??
>I don't know that gobies and blennies would be as much affected as juveniles
>that school like grunts, cardinalfish, snappers etc ... these are the types of
>fish I have seen lionfish stalking most often, not benthic species.
>Back in the 50's I think it was, the state of Hawaii imported Peacock Groupers
>(Cephalopholis argus) into Hawaii to create another food fish source for
>anglers and spear fishermen. Unfortunately, these fish are prone to ciguatera
>and so are not hunted much. Similarly, the state introduced Bluestriped
>snappers (Lutjanus kasmira) decades ago, which have since exploded in number
>and now are suspected of out competing local deepwater snappers for food.
>These were both mass introductions that resulted in breeding populations. No
>one has commented on how these introductions affected local fish populations,
>especially tropical fish targeted by collectors. There have been several
>sightings of tropical fish in Hawaiian waters that were most likely the result
>of aquarium releases or perhaps premeditated introductions (Primarily
>angelfish and surgeonfish/tangs), but I don't think ANY of these have exploded
>in number or created significant breeding populations in the Hawaiian Islands
>like we are seeing off the east coast of the US with lionfish. The lone
>exception may be the Marshall Islands form of Flame angel off of West Hawaii
>but I am not 100% sure of these reports. Again, genetic work might help clear
>this up.
>At least in the state of Hawaii, to the best of my knowledge, only fish that
>were released in LARGE numbers have establish themselves in significant
>numbers in the Hawaiian Islands.
>J.C. Delbeek
>Disclaimer: The above is just my opinion and does necessarily reflect those of
>my employer.
>"Szmant, Alina" <szmanta at uncw.edu> said:
> > The lion fish here off of NC are everywhere offshore.  And I saw a dive
> > article about there abundance elsewhere in Caribbean.  They are
> > definitely established in the Atlantic, and can now be considered
> > invasive.  They'll probably have a major effect on small reef fishes
> > such as gobies and blennies.
> >
> > *******************************************************************
> > Dr. Alina M. Szmant
> > Coral Reef Research Group
> > UNCW-Center for Marine Science
> > 5600 Marvin K. Moss Ln
> > Wilmington NC 28409
> > Tel: (910)962-2362 & Fax:  (910)962-2410
> > Cell:  (910)200-3913
> > email:  szmanta at uncw.edu
> > Web Page:  http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta
> > ******************************************************************
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Douglas
> > Fenner
> > Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 10:07 PM
> > To: Craig Lilyestrom; Lee Goldman
> > Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Live coral trade - Philippine exports
> >
> > Good point.  Currently, several Pacific fish species are being found in
> > Florida and elsewhere, particularly Lionfish, and the numbers of the
> > latter
> > at least indicate that the genie is out of the bottle, it sounds to me
> > like
> > an introduced species that is going to be invasive.  They were released
> > by
> > people from their aquariums into the ocean.  I hear from aquarium people
> >
> > that there are a variety of diseases and parasites that show up in
> > aquaria,
> > including coral diseases I believe.  I could easily imagine a disease or
> >
> > parasite, say on coral, coming from the Pacific, being released from an
> > aquarium in Florida, and having potentially severe effects there and
> > throughout the Caribbean.  Doesn't seem too far fetched.  -Doug
> >
>Coral-List mailing list
>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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Phone: +49 (0) 421-218-63417 (Office)
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 ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><>
Dr. Marc Kochzius
Biotechnology and Molecular Genetics
Centre for Applied Gene Sensor Technology (CAG), FB2-UFT
University of Bremen
Leobener Strasse
28359 Bremen

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