, Volume 27, Issue 3, p 501
Date: 28 Mar 2008

Predation on the invasive red lionfish, Pterois volitans (Pisces: Scorpaenidae), by native groupers in the Bahamas

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On 26 January 2008, a tiger grouper, Mycteroperca tigris (472-mm standard length [SL]), was caught off New Providence (25°04.6′′N, 77°20.6′′W), Bahamas and found to contain a single red lionfish, Pterois volitans (61-mm SL) in its stomach. This observation was considered an anomaly given both the venomous nature of lionfish, and their relatively recent introduction to the Bahamas (Snyder and Burgess 2007).

Anecdotal evidence provided by fishers, however, suggested that native grouper species were preying on red lionfish with some regularity. Subsequently, five Nassau groupers, Epinephelus striatus, caught off Eleuthera Island (25°10.0′′N, 76°14.0′′W) at an approximate depth of 14 m on 5 March 2008, were dissected. Two of the stomachs contained red lionfish. The first grouper (477-mm SL) contained a partially digested lionfish, identifiable only by the morphology and multiplicity of the remaining fin rays. The second slightly larger grouper (482-mm SL) contained a red lionfish of 137-mm ...