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Lionfish (Pterois) are beautiful looking, venomous fish who show they’re dangerous with their brightly coloured bold stripes and proud line of long spines across. Their venom is in these spines, which they use to protect themselves from predators. The venomous spines are very effective as they have few predators.

There are 12 species of lionfish, all of which are native to the Indo-Pacific. They can now also be found along the American coastline in the west Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Mediterranean Sea where they are an invasive species, affecting the balance of the natural eco-system.

Lionfish feed on small fish, invertebrates, and molluscs. They are also believed to display cannibalistic behaviour where larger lionfish prey on smaller ones. Lionfish are good hunters, using camouflage and quick reflexes, along with a specialised swim bladder to gain the perfect position. They blow jets of water to confuse their prey and can extend their pectoral fins to swallow prey whole!

Lionfish are harmful to humans but do not have enough venom to kill a human.



What do they eat?

Small fish, invertebrates, and molluscs


Around 30cm

Water Type

Tropical Marine

Where are we?


  • Lionfish
  • Lionfish profile
  • Lionfish with fins spread

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