[Coral-List] Lionfish gut contents - Bocas del Toro, Panama

Randi Rotjan randi.rotjan at tufts.edu
Sat Feb 5 07:21:06 EST 2011

Dear coral-listers,

We are co-teaching a course for the Three Seas Program (Northeastern
University) in Bocas del Toro, Panama (at STRI). As a lab exercise with the
students, we dissected the stomach and gut contents of 13 invasive lionfish.
For those who might be interested, these nocturnal predators appeared to be
feeding even mid-day, as specimens were collected in the late afternoon but
9/13 stomachs were full, with specimens still readily identified. The
standard length of the lionfish ranged from 8.5-21 cm. A total of 16
organisms were retrieved during dissection, including 3 shrimp
(unidentified), and several fishes (most were likely glass gobies;
personatus/hyalinus)*), one juvenile serranid, and a 55mm SL Stegastes sp.,
and a possible specimen of the goldspot goby, *Gnatholepsis thompsoni*). All
fish were very fatty and appeared well-fed. All prey items were common on
the reef; no rare specimens were found. Lionfish densities in the field were
not comprehensively assessed, but they are common in low densities (present
on almost every dive, but only 1-2 seen per dive). For those interested in
the dataset, we also collected information on standard length, and gape size
(max L and W), and we do have some habitat and transect data available.
Please contact us directly (clarelwormald at gmail.com, randi.rotjan at gmail.com),
if you would like the file with complete details. While this is a limited
data set collected for class purposes, we are posting them here in the hopes
that they may be of use to the coral reef community, and we encourage others
to do the same.

Best fishes,

Clare Wormald, Randi Rotjan, Heidi Block, and the 2011 Northeastern
University Three Seas Class.

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