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Invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) are now ubiquitous throughout the Caribbean and Western Atlantic on both shallow and deep reefs. While many invasive species disrupt natural ecosystems by spreading disease or competing for food and habitat, lionfish are particularly problematic owing to their voracious appetites and high reproductive capacities.
Lionfish are indiscriminate predators, feeding on over 70 species of fish, invertebrates, and mollusks, and a single lionfish can eat 30 times its stomach volume in one meal. Additionally, each female lionfish can produce more than two million eggs each year during her average 16-year lifespan, making lionfish a significant threat to native fishes and reef systems.
Surveys - Bermuda - Aggregations - Reefs - Depths
Recent surveys in Bermuda have revealed dense aggregations of lionfish on mesophotic reefs (located at depths between 100 and 500 feet, or 30 to 150 meters), yet these densities are not consistent across reefs at this depth. Newly published research in the journal Frontiers, led by BIOS reef ecologist Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley, examines how lionfish distribution on mesophotic reefs may be affected by ecological factors, such as the abundance of prey organisms, as well as environmental factors, such as water temperature.
The research team, which included scientists from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, the Bermuda Department of Environmental...
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