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Lionfish (Pterois volitans)
Credit: Jens Petersen
lionfish
Pterois volitans

Characteristics:
• Body is white or cream colored with red to reddish-brown vertical stripes; stripes can be wide or thin 
• Numerous long, venomous spines (dorsal and anal)
• Adults can grow to 15 in (38cm) and weigh 2.6 lb (1.2 kg)

Habitat:
• Along U.S. east coast, waters of 13.8–24.4°C
• Depth range of 33-575 ft (10-175 m)
• Hides in unexposed places at daytime, often with head down and nearly immobile

Known Distribution:
• Adults: North Carolina to Florida; established and reproducing along the southeast United States coast
• Juveniles: New York, North Carolina, and Bermuda
• Native to coral reefs of Indian and western Pacific Oceans

Impacts:
• Feeds on a wide variety of smaller fish, shrimp, and crabs
• Venomous spines can injure people

Common Vector(s):
Aquarium release

Lionfish (Pterois volitans)
Credit: J. Morris, NOAA NOS