lionfish

NOAA's National Ocean Service/Flickr

The invasion of lionfish throughout Florida waters is a challenge to native Florida wildlife and to the ecosystems where they live. The state has organized derbies and training sessions on how to catch — and cook the fish — which have no natural predators here.

Why Lionfish Are Targeted Underwater And Online

Sep 2, 2014
NOAA's National Ocean Service/Flickr

If they weren't such a pest you could almost pity the lionfish.

The creature, after all, is simply doing what it is biologically programmed to do: eat and reproduce. Unfortunately, it has made its way to the reefs off South Florida where it doesn't have natural predators.

So the lovely lionfish has become a menace.

They eat juvenile saltwater species that are commercially and biologically important, like lobster, crab, snapper and grouper. And they eat herbivores like wrasse that help limit algae growth on reefs.

Why The Lionfish Really Is The Terminator

Aug 27, 2014
Miami Herald

Central Casting could call on Arnold Schwarzenegger should there ever be a movie made titled "The Lionfish."

That's how efficient a predator the invasive creature has become -- now dubbed "The Terminator." The lionfish has made its way here from its native Indo-Pacific waters -- and not by swimming. Most likely they were released from aquariums after consuming their tankmates.

Oregon State University has just finished a study about the red lionfish, which has taken up residence in the warm water reefs around South Florida and the Caribbean.

Creative Commons / Flickr user Brian Popik

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is trying to eradicate an invasive species: the lionfish, which swims the South Florida seas.

It's is a funky-looking, red-and-white striped fish. Its fins fan out like a mane, hence the name. But the real image its name should conjure up is of a big bully.

The lionfish population has exploded over the past couple of decades. Its presence has increasingly hurt local native fish and other sea critters.

OceanGate, Inc.

A team of scientists from  around the country recently spent two days off the coast of South Florida to investigate the explosion of lionfish.

What they found was shocking. Why?

Because there’s a war going on and the indomitable lionfish are winning.

These voracious predators are known to invade the shallows of coral reef.  They’re dangerous because they ruin the habitat and eat juvenile spiny lobsters, snappers, groupers, tarpon and bonefish - all valuable marine species humans rely on.

Eating Invasive Species Comes With A Side Of Caution

May 8, 2013
David Samayoa

Editor's note: In the hunt for what to do about the various mix of invasive species found in Florida, we are running a series that not only describes the problems caused by these plants and animals but, well, offers a culinary solution. Tweet us (@WLRN) your ideas and tips or email us a recipe: WLRNMIA@gmail.com.

To accompany our Invasive Species Cookbook , we are also posting the potential health risks of eating certain invasive species and how to possibly mitigate those risks.

A gluttonous predator is power-eating its way through reefs from New York to Venezuela. It's the lionfish.

And although researchers are coming up with new ways to protect some reefs from the flamboyant maroon-striped fish, they have no hope of stopping its unparalleled invasion.

Lad Akins has scuba dived in the vibrant reefs of the Bahamas for many years. But when he returned a couple years ago, he saw almost no fish smaller than his hand.

Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

Lionfish are the newest target of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation's (FWC) efforts to use social engagement to tackle the problem of exotic, invasives in the state. The FWC announced last week the launch of its "Lionfish Control Team" photo contest for the month of April.