01 Mars 2013
The lionfish (Scorpaenidae) is a curious tropical fish with a very distinctive appearance. This unusual aspect earned it various nicknames of “scorpion fish”, “lionfish” or “sea devil”.
The lionfish is a colorful fish that can measure up to 35cm. It is very pleasant to observe its red-brown coloring with white streaks. As its principal form of camouflage, the lionfish adjusts its coloring according to its natural environment. The lionfish fish looks like an undersea hedgehog. Moreover, it has a little fleshy appendix on each side of the jaw that resembles whiskers. This overall appearance seems exceptional in this aquatic world.
The scorpion fish is generally a solitary and migratory species. It lives near marine reefs as deep as 50 meters. It becomes really active after sunset. It uses a formidable hunting technique to catch small fish and crustaceans: It remains motionless for hours on a reef and gobbles up its prey in one swift strike - pity the fish that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This “sea devil” can be found in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
This oviparous fish may lay as many as 40 000 eggs at one time. This significant number of eggs balances off its high infant mortality rate. At adulthood, the venomous lionfish has no natural predator. Inevitably, it tends to overpopulate at the expense of other fish. A good example of this proliferation is in the Caribbean waters where the lionfish abound having been introduced by man.
A very dangerous species, each fin has venomous spines whose painful sting can be fatal to humans. Although not aggressive, it can be found in most Polynesian waters and is a common object of underwater observation by divers.
© Photos - V.Truchet, www.guamreeflife.com, Aqwaman