[Coral-List] Lionfish and ciguatera

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Fri Jan 28 09:12:21 EST 2011

I very much doubt that lionfish have been tested for ciguatera in the Caribbean (they haven't been around long enough and they haven't been eaten by humans to any degree to induce the few scientists who have assays for ciguatoxin to test them).  Ciguatera is a bioaccumulation of a dinoflagellate derived toxin, and it doesn't occur everywhere.  Thus, I'd not assume that these fish are ciguatoxic.  I'd first search for evidence of ciguatoxic lionfish in the Indo-Pacific region.  If they don't bioacculumate it there, no reason to believe they will do it in the Caribbean.

Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Professor of Marine Biology
Coral Reef Research Program, Center for Marine Science
University of North Carolina Wilmington
5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane
Wilmington NC 28409
Tel:  US +1  9109622362  Call ; fax: (910)962-2410;  cell:  US +1  9102003913  Call
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml..noaa.gov] On Behalf Of paul hoetjes [phoetjes at gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 12:00 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Lionfish on the menu

HI Melissa,

Do you know where you read this? I recall a recent discussion thread about
lionfish and ciguatera, I don't remember if it was on this list or on the
GCFI list, where nobody could provide any data or reports of ciguatera from
lionfish, and in fact I believe it was assumed that they simply don't grow
large enough for them to accumulate sufficient ciguatoxin to be of concern.
Large groupers, snappers or barracuda's that are notorious for ciguatera in
affected regions reach a much bigger body mass over a long period of time,
allowing for a much larger build-up of toxin.

Does anyone actually know what the lifespan of lionfish is? Do they keep
growing as they get older, and what kills them in the end? Or are we indeed
liable to see 1 m lionfish if they get old enough from lack of natural
enemies in the Caribbean?


On Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM, MelissaE Keyes
<melissae.keyes at yahoo.com>wrote:

> Hello, Listers,
> Not to drag on forever this Lionfish discussion, but they are an apex
> preditor,
> and have the ability to carry the ciguatera poison.  I read recently that
> of ten
> fish tested, six were 'infested' with ciguatera.  So much for them being a
> human
> food source. :(
> "Cheers",
> Melissa
>  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Melissa E. Keyes
> St. Croix,
> U.S.Virgin Islands
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