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.
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.
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.
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.
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.