The Invasion of the Lionfish

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The Invasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish - DO NOT TOUCH!

Originally introduced to the Atlantic through aquarium releases in the 1980’s, this invasive species has been documented along the entire US East coast from Florida to New England, east to Bermuda and south throughout the Caribbean. 

They are voracious eaters and can strip a reef of juvenile fish within five weeks and without the fish the reef can choke and die. This graceful fish with lacey fins, handsome stripes has no natural predators in the Atlantic and are aggressive, voracious and prolific.

Lionfish possess venomous spines capable of deterring predators and inflicting mild to severe stings and reactions to humans. If you see one in the water do not touch but report the location to a local dive shop or call the number below.

The Invasive Lionfish

Lionfish Fast Facts


  • Lionfish may live decades and reach sizes to 19”
  • Lionfish inhabit all marine habitat types and depths (shoreline to 1000ft).
  • Lionfish become sexually active in less than a year 
  • Lionfish eggs are held together in a gelatinous mass of 12,000 - 15,000 eggs and are dispersed at the ocean’s  surface by currents
  • Native predators exhibit avoidance for Lionfish
  • Lionfish are edible and considered a delicacy


First Aid

If stung, flush with fresh water, immerse in hot water and contact a local doctor.

In the BVI call: 284-442-7783

In the USVI call: 340-775-6762

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