[Coral-List] Lionfish eaten and potential new invaders RE: Frogfish eat lionfish

Douglas Fenner douglasfenner at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 1 01:35:37 EDT 2011

Thanks, Wes!

     I think this illustrates why 2 species of Lionfish are just the tip of the iceberg for this problem, and we can expect more to be introduced to Florida waters in the future, though hopefully only a portion might be invasive.
     I remind that we may have an invasive coral problem.  Tubastraea coccinea was first reported 1948, and has since spread throughout the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, and to Florida.  That species and a second Tubastraea have been introduced to Brazil, probably on oil equipment, and have invaded natural habitats and are rapidly increasing in abundance.  Recently Paul Sammarco and colleagues published a report that another Tubastraea species (T. micranthus) is on at least one Gulf oil platform in the Louisiana area, if I remember. The colonies are already pretty good size, and the other species start cranking out larvae at pretty small sizes so they may already be cranking out larvae.  But there were only a relatively small number of colonies found, the legs were not covered.  Two out of two species in this genus in West Atlantic waters have proven to be invasive, I know of no reason to think this one will not be also.  One of the few
 times you have a fighting chance with introduced or invasive species is very soon after introduction when populations are still very small.  I would recommend a program to remove all the known colonies from the platform, as well as monitor nearby platforms for new settlements of it.  I would imagine that is it is no minor thing to get to the platforms to do this kind of thing, the Sammarco group knows how to to it and exactly where they are, they or someone else needs to remove all the colonies they can find as soon as is practicable.  Once it gets out of hand, it will be too late.  Also, if anybody else is diving on any of these platforms and spots it, I would recommend removing it as soon as possible.

    One of the recent job ads on coral-list was for a largely terrestrial organization that has been quite successful at eradicating introduced species on islands I believe.  So maybe there is some hope, though marine waters may be more difficult to eradicate introduced or invasive species, I don't know.  If they are not causing harm, maybe no panic, but can we guarantee they won't cause changes in the ecosystem once they become abundant?  Not likely.  The precautionary principle would suggest that if you have an introduced species, and catch it before it has expanded, don't let the golden chance get away, remove it, nip it in the bud.  If it isn't invasive, no harm done, but if it is, you've just dodged a bullet.

    My 2 cents.   Cheers,  Doug


From: "Tunnell, Wes" <Wes.Tunnell at tamucc.edu>
To: 'Douglas Fenner' <douglasfenner at yahoo.com>; Sarah Frias-Torres <sfrias_torres at hotmail.com>
Cc: coral list <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>; "coralreef-freeforall at yahoogroups.com" <coralreef-freeforall at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 10:14 AM
Subject: RE: [Coral-List] Lionfish eaten and potential new invaders RE: Frogfish eat lionfish

Hi Doug, Sarah et al.,

One of the presenters at the Lion Fish Session during the International Marine Conservation Conference in Victoria, BC, a few weeks ago related that over 30 Indo-Pacific fish had been released/found/reported in the Caribbean region, but only the lion fish had spread widely.


John W. (Wes) Tunnell, Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Director, Harte Research Institute
for Gulf of Mexico Studies and Harte Research Scientist
Regents Professor and Professor of Biology
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
6300 Ocean HRI 318C, MS 5869
Corpus Christi, Texas 78412
Phone: 361-825-2055
Fax: 361-825-2050
wes.tunnell at tamucc.edu
HRI:   http://www.harteresearchinstitute.org
Gulfbase: http://www.gulfbase.org
"Life is a journey that's measured not in  miles or years but in experiences"
Jimmy Buffett. A Pirate Looks at Fifty, 1998

-----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: Saturday, May 28, 2011 4:04 AM
To: Sarah Frias-Torres
Cc: coral list; coralreef-freeforall at yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Lionfish eaten and potential new invaders RE: Frogfish eat lionfish

     I thought I remembered some mention somewhere of other Pacific reef fish being found in Florida waters, like angelfish.  Perhaps these two species of lionfish are the only species which have established populations and spread out of several or many that have been released .  That would fit with the experience in Hawaii, where deliberate introductions of around 20,000 individuals per species of several species were made in the past, and two took and expanded, one (Lutjanus kasmira) is now the full length of the chain, 1523 miles long, and without the strong unidirectional currents from one island to another that characterize parts of the western Atlantic.  My guess is that there have been other introductions in Florida, and there will be more introductions in the future.  The best way to deal with invasive species is not to introduce them in the first place, once they are loose they are often very difficult or impossible to control, and 
 almost every last one has been impossible to eradicate so far.  A few people do some pretty crazy things, and I think we would do well to think and discuss how future introductions that could go wrong could be averted.  Assuming no one will try to release Pacific species in Florida in the future seems to me like putting our head in the sand.  How could we possibly know that no one will do that?  (Florida has over 18 million people)  The consequences could be pretty bad, could be even worse than lionfish are.  How can anyone guarantee it will not happen?  Isn't the precautionary approach to do what we can to forestall future introductions?  Further, this is not just a problem for Florida.  There are large numbers of marine species that have been introduced all over the world (most by ships I'd think), and while a majority have caused no problems so far, quite a few have caused a lot of problems, and some have caused major problems and cost 
 hundreds of millions of dollars.  It's a problem for all of us.      Cheers,  Doug

Oda DK, Parrish JD  (1981)  Ecology of commercial snappers and groupers introduced to Hawaiian reefs.  Proceedings of the Fourth International Coral Reef Symposium 1: 59-67.

From: Sarah Frias-Torres <sfrias_torres at hotmail.com>
To: eblume2702 at gmail.com; reefball at reefball.com
Cc: coral list <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>; coralreef-freeforall at yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 11:26 AM
Subject: [Coral-List] Lionfish eaten and potential new invaders RE: Frogfish eats lionfish!

Actually, it is indeed a frogfish eating a lionfish!In the original link provided by Ed Blume http://www.scubazoo.com/updates/blog/crazy-underwater-animal-behaviour.
You have to go to the video menu bar below and click on "Giant frogfish eats poisonous lionfish".The lionfish shown there (in aquarium conditions) is, if I'm not mistaken, a red dwarf fuzzy lionfish (Dendrochirus brachypterus). They are wildly popular among aquarists because they are very easy to maintain (even easier than the red lionfish Pterois volitans/miles) The good news is that if frogfish eat lionfish, then we should add them to the potential list of lionfish predators in the Atlantic (the list is growing little by little).The bad news is that, there are many popular lionfish species among aquarists that go beyond the now Atlantic invader Pterois volitans/miles.So one is left to wonder if there could be more "unintended releases" going of other lionfish species, even stronger and more adaptable than P. volitans I've asked this question before in other forums but I've been dismissed rather quickly.

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. Schmidt Ocean Institute Postdoctoral FellowOcean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) 1420 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, Florida 34949 USA Tel (772) 467-1600http://www.teamorca.orghttp://independent.academia.edu/SarahFriasTorres

> Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 14:21:28 -0500
> From: eblume2702 at gmail.com
> To: reefball at reefball.com
> CC: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov; 
> coralreef-freeforall at yahoogroups.com
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Frogfish eats lionfish!
> OMG, you're right!  Since the video was labeled "lionfish" that's what 
> I saw.  I'm embarrassed.
> Ed
> On Wed, May 25, 2011 at 1:36 PM, Todd Barber <reefball at reefball.com> wrote:
> > Sorry Ed...that is not a Lionfish.
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Todd R Barber
> > Chairman, Reef Ball Foundation
> > 3305 Edwards Court
> > Greenville, NC 27858
> > 252-353-9094 (Direct)
> > 941-720-7549 (Cell & Goggle Voice)
> > toddbarber Skype
> >
> > www,reefball.org (Reef Ball Foundation) www.artificialreefs.org 
> > (Designed Artificial Reefs) www.reefbeach.com (Reefs for Beach 
> > Erosion) www.eternalreefs.com (Memorial Reefs) www.reefball.com 
> > (Reef Ball Foundation)
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > 
> > > _______________________________________________
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