, Volume 28, Issue 1, p 107
Date: 25 Nov 2008

Record densities of Indo-Pacific lionfish on Bahamian coral reefs

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First documented off Florida more than a decade ago, populations of Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) have rapidly spread throughout the Bahamas and northern Caribbean (Whitfield et al. 2007; Hamner et al. 2007; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database 2007). Here, we report lionfish densities from reefs off the southwest coast of New Providence, Bahamas (25°04.6″N, 77°20.6″W) which far exceed the highest densities documented for this species in both its invaded and native ranges. Densities of P. volitans were measured on 10 × 50 m transects from May to July 2008, at depths of 12 to 20 m. At three sites, each separated by more than 1 km, we found >390 lionfish per hectare (mean ± 1 SD; 393.3 ± 144.4 lionfish ha−1, n = 4 transects per site). These densities are more than 18 times higher than those reported by Whitfield et al. (2007) from invaded habitats off the coast of North Carolina, USA (21.2 ± 5.1 ha−1). Fishelson (1997) provides the only rough estimate of li