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The red lionfish is an invasive species native to the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Their human-caused introduction to the northern Atlantic and subsequent population increase are now causing negative impacts on marine ecosystems in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Lionfish are efficient predators invading a variety of natural and artificial habitats, competing with native predator fish and consuming smaller fishes, including the young of large species.
Observations of red lionfish have been recorded on coral reefs, artificial reefs and deeper hard bottom areas (up to 1000 feet deep or 305 meters), wrecks, mangroves, seawalls, docks, and estuaries ranging from the northeastern U.S. and Bermuda to the western Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean Sea.
The first observation in 1985, but no locational information was available until 1995.
Database curator: Jorge Brenner, The Nature Conservancy in Texas
The Nature Conservancy is working with federal, and state agencies, fisherman and diving communities and universities in understanding the risk of this invasion in our natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico and communicating these threats to inform decision-making process in the Gulf.
Map Creator: Shin Kobara, GCOOS
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