[Coral-List] Lion fish question

mtupper mtupper at coastal-resources.org
Mon Apr 22 16:29:06 EDT 2013

I'm no lionfish expert, but I have worked with groupers for 30 years and never
seen one eat a lionfish, nor found lionfish in any of their stomachs (in either
the Atlantic or their native range). A brief Internet search and a chat with a
couple of the major aquarium fish distributors here suggest that juvenile
lionfish are preyed on by triggerfish and angelfish, which bite off the spines
first and then pick the lionfish apart, much the same way that many reef fish
eat sea urchins. Apparently this has been witnessed both in the wild and in
aquaria. When I lived in Palau, one local spearfisherman told me that both titan
and yellowmargin triggerfish would attack and kill lionfish that strayed to
close to the triggers' nests. I can't vouch for the validity of the info as it's
anecdotal, and picking the spines of a mobile lionfish would much more difficult
than eating a sea urchin, but I've stranger things happen....


Dr. Mark Tupper
Coastal Resources Association
207-10822 City Parkway, Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 0C2
Email: mtupper at coastal-resources.org
Tel. 1-604-588-1674; Mobile: 1-604-961-2022

Philippines Office:
Poblacion, Sagay, Camiguin, Philippines 9103
Tel. +63-906-568-3653

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