Lionfish Deep Sea Hunter, King of Venom

Lionfish is a fish of the genus Scorpionfish of the family Scorpionfish in the order Scorpioniformes. It is also called firefish, turkeyfish, and butterfly cod. Its body is elongated, flattened laterally, with spines and skin flaps, and its head has spines and well-developed operculum spines. Its dorsal fin is continuous, with a deep notch between the spines and the rays. The second dorsal fin spine is long and extends beyond the rear end of the base of the first dorsal fin; the pectoral fin is large and extends to the notch of the ray in front of the second dorsal fin spine; the pelvic fin is located on the chest and is far away from the left and right; the caudal fin is round.

King of Venom fish
King of Venom fish

Lionfish are mainly distributed in the North Atlantic, North Pacific and Arctic and Antarctic cold water areas. Some species, such as the lionfish in the North Atlantic, live along the coast, while others, such as the pink species of the genus Analus, live in the deep sea. Lionfish are extremely adaptable to the environment and can live in sea areas with a variety of salinities, temperatures and depths, and can be found in coral reefs, lagoons, and rocky substrates.

King of Venom fish

Lionfish mostly swim at the bottom of the water or hide behind reefs during the day, and turn into highly skilled hunters at night. When approaching prey, they will spray water to confuse the prey and make it lose its way. At the same time, the swinging pectoral fins act like a barrier to restrict the movement of the prey and drive it into a small corner.

King of Venom fish

Specialized muscles

Lionfish also use specialized muscles on both sides of their accurately control their position in the water. That allowing them to change their center of gravity to better attack prey. Tthen spread their pectoral fins to swallow them. In addition, the water jets of lionfish will also change the direction of the prey’s movement, forcing small fish to turn towards the lionfish and become prey, thereby improving the lionfish’s predation efficiency.

The toxicity of lionfish is mainly reflect in its dorsal and pectoral fins. These fins have poisonous spines. When lionfish encounter an enemy, they will use the poisonous spines to attack. The enemy will be injure by the venom after being stung. The venom of lionfish is mainly store in the venom glands. When encountering an enemy, they will squeeze the venom glands through their muscles and inject the venom into the opponent’s body through the poisonous spines. The venom is very toxic and can cause symptoms such as pain, swelling, convulsions. And even death to the attacked enemy.

King of Venom fish
King of Venom fish

Natural enemies

The natural enemies of lionfish are mainly other large predatory fish and marine mammals. These natural enemies include large sharks, other carnivorous fish, and marine mammals such as dolphins and whales. These natural enemies will prey on lionfish and use them as a food source. In addition, humans are also one of the natural enemies of lionfish. Because lionfish is a precious edible fish, and humans will catch them for food.

During the lionfish courtship period, males and females perform a series of rituals. First, the male lionfish displays his fins and gill covers to the female to show his health and strength. The female lionfish then follows the male to the surface and releases two floating egg masses – gelatinous bundles that can contain up to 42,000 eggs in total. The male then fertilizes the eggs, which have a high survival rate due to their protective gelatinous shield. During the 20 to 35 days of the planktonic larval stage, lionfish eggs and fry drift with the ocean currents, often drifting great distances. During hurricanes and other extreme weather events, they can travel even further. Eventually they attach to intertidal rocks and corals. Within a few weeks, the small fry will become voracious predators.

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