[Coral-List] Mechanisms of Predation on Lionfish Egg Masses: A New Focus for Scientific Research?

Brent Rintoul eatmorelionfish at gmail.com
Thu Jun 5 14:23:34 EDT 2014

Greetings, Fellow Listers,

Thanks to the ground-breaking 2014 Blue Oceans Business Summit for leading
me to this discussion and, especially to it's proponents who are actively
engaged in invasive lionfish research as it relates to management and
control of exponential invasive population growth.

To that end, I would like to contribute what I hope becomes a game-changing
revelation relative to the efficacy of ongoing mitigation efforts:

On a recent dive trip in the Indo-Pacific, the lionfish's native range, I
was told by a local dive master that lionfish populations there are limited
there primarily by predation on their egg masses, mostly by Triggerfish and
Surgeon Fish, and not by predation on viable juvenile and adult individuals
by other reef predator species (obvious cause/effect being 5" venemous
spines, as REEF's Lad Akins had previously pointed out in this forum).
Furthermore, I was told the eggs are easily visible as they are deposited
on and left 'glued' to reef structure awaiting fertilization.

In all of my research of the scientific literature on invasive lionfish to
date I have not yet seen any studies focusing on the egg masses!

As difficult as it may be to find enough of these egg masses to study,
given that published rates of reproduction and population densities are
much higher in the invaded range than they are in the native range, then
location and study of egg masses should be feasible.

'Blue-sky' vision might see these egg masses showing up vividly under
ultraviolet light... then divers and/or submersible ROVs equipped with UV
torches and suction devices could search and destroy the egg masses, thus
taking out 100's if not 1000's of lionfish seed at once! Then again, maybe
lionfish eggs are good in sushi? I've seen lots of eggs in ones I've see
speared, but never thought to taste them...


R. Brent Rintoul, Retired Ecologist
Facebook Community Page (search):
'ILEAD Invasive Lionfish Eco-action Discovery'

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