Feeding ecology of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) in the Bahamian archipelago
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Feeding ecology of the lionfish (Pterois volitans), an invasive species in the Western North Atlantic, was examined by collecting stomach content data from fishes taken throughout the Bahamian archipelago. Three relative metrics of prey quantity, including percent number, percent frequency, and percent volume, were used to compare three indices of dietary importance. Lionfish largely prey upon teleosts (78% volume) and crustaceans (14% volume). Twenty-one families and 41 species of teleosts were represented in the diet of lionfish; the top 10 families of dietary importance were Gobiidae, Labridae, Grammatidae, Apogonidae, Pomacentridae, Serranidae, Blenniidae, Atherinidae, Mullidae, and Monacanthidae. The proportional importance of crustaceans in the diet was inversely related to size with the largest lionfish preying almost exclusively on teleosts. Lionfish were found to be diurnal feeders with the highest predation occurring in the morning (08:00–11:00).