[Coral-List] mutton snapper eats lionfish in Roatan

Melanie McField mcfield at healthyreefs.org
Fri Jan 21 14:54:26 EST 2011

 Dear Colleagues,

Last week I had an amazing dive in Roatan during which a nassau grouper and
mutton snapper closely followed our fearless lionfish hunter - and the
mutton snapper actually ended up eating the lionfish (after it was speared
and offered).  I think this record will increase the number of species that
are confirmed to consume it.  The video is on Youtube and our new facebook
site and will soon be on our website (www.healthyreefs.org).  Feel free to
use the video as needed. The summary information is detailed below the

See the video at:

We also have it on on facebook and are starting a new suite of activities on
facebook... so 'friend' us to keep informed about marine conservation
throughout the MAR.

This is the link

Mutton Snapper recorded eating a lionfish

January 12, 2011 West End Wall, Roatan, Honduras

Location:  16.26905 N   86.60288 W    Depth: 80 ft

In the linked video you can see licensed lionfish hunter and Healthy Reefs
Coordinator in Honduras, Ian Drysdale, feed  a  speared (and dead) lionfish
to a mutton snapper, as an interested nassau grouper looks on.  The video
was taken by Melanie McField, Director of the Healthy Reefs Initiate. Still
photos were taken by Marisol Rueda, Healthy Reefs Coordinator in Mexico.   The
incident occurred about 15 minutes into the dive. The Nassau grouper  began
following Ian about 5-10 minutes into the dive and the mutton snapper joined
along shortly after. Both fish seemed particularly interested in following
Ian and watching the spear keenly.  Spearfishing is banned in HN and the
fish show no fear of the spear or the divers in general.  In response to the
lionfish problem authorities are allowing managers like the Roatan Marine
Park to license certain trained individuals to use special lionfish spears
to remove lionfish from the reef inside and outside the Roatan marine park.
 Both fish were approximately 30-40cm length. Dive guides from Roatan also
report that the following species have been seen consuming speared lionfish:
groupers (several species), snappers (including mutton and yellowtail)
spotted and green morays, and grey reef sharks.  Some plan to attempt to
train the fish to consume live lionfish, as has been reported from Cayman.
Melanie McField, PhD
Director, Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative, Smithsonian
1755 Coney Dr, Belize City, Belize, Central America
tel 501-223-4898   cell 501-610-4899
email: mcfield at healthyreefs.org  www.healthyreefs.org

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