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Lionfish, adult about 40 miles off the North Carolina coast in 140 feet of water (Summer 2001) - Photo by Paula Whitfield; NOAA, Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research
Scientific Name: 

Pterois volitans (Linnaeus) (ITIS)

Common Name: 

Lionfish, lion fish, zebrafish, firefish, turkeyfish, red lionfish, butterfly cod, ornate butterfly-cod, peacock lionfish, red firefish, scorpion volitans

Native To: 

Western Pacific Ocean (NAS Database)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 
Means of Introduction: 

Aquarium trade (Morris and Whitfield 2009)


Preys on native species; has venomous spines (Morris and Whitfield 2009)


California Academy of Sciences.

Since arriving to the northern Atlantic Ocean less than 30 years ago, lionfish have quickly become one of the most widespread and voracious invasive species, negatively impacting marine ecosystems—particularly coral reefs—from the northeast coast of the United States to the Caribbean Islands. In a new study, an international research team including the California Academy of Sciences presents four new records of lionfish off the coast of Brazil, confirming the invasion of the predatory fish into the South Atlantic for the first time.

Institute of Marine Affairs (Trinidad and Tobago).

Citizens with an avid interest in environmental matters will be able to 'sea' their environmental reports using mobile technology. The first of its kind in Trinidad and Tobago, the Institute of Marine Affairs' new Integrated Environmental Incident Software Platform and mobile application, called the Lionfish SeaiTT, allows users to report environmental incidents with the touch of a button. The development of this mobile application was part of a 2014 Green Fund project entitled 'Control and Management of the Invasive Lionfish in Trinidad and Tobago' which aimed to raise awareness on the arrival of the marine invasive species, the lionfish, Pterios volitans, to the territorial waters around Trinidad and Tobago, and the imminent threat the species pose to domestic marine ecosystems.

DOC. NOAA. National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.
Note: Provides search results for "lionfish"

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

DOI. USGS. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.
Provides detailed collection information as well as animated map.



Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Lionfish.

Council or Task Force
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.
The Invasive Lionfish Web Portal, developed by the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute in partnership with NOAA, supports the management and control of lionfish in conservation areas along the Southeast coast of the U.S. and Caribbean.
Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel.
University of Cyprus; Cyprus Department of Fisheries and Marine Research; University of Plymouth (United Kingdom); Enalia Physis Environmental Research Centre (Cyprus); Marine and Environmental Research Lab Ltd (Cyprus).

Preventing a LIONfish invasion in the MEDiterranean through early response and targeted REmoval.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Galveston Bay Estuary Program; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).

Federal Government

DOC. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 99
DOI. NPS. Biscayne National Park.
DOC. NOAA. National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.

Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.

Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Marine Invasions Research Lab.

DOI. USGS. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).

DOC. NOAA. National Ocean Service.

State and Local Government
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Saltwater Recreational Fishing License Program.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
University of Michigan. Museum of Zoology.
University of Florida. Florida Museum of Natural History.

University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

Electronic Data Information Source Publication #SGEF 208

University of Florida. Florida Sea Grant.

Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.

Reef Environmental Education Foundation.