Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 100, Issue 6, pp 745–748 | Cite as

Gymnothorax spp. (Muraenidae) as natural predators of the lionfish Pterois miles in its native biogeographical range

Article

Abstract

Lionfish (Pterois miles) were observed avoiding coral pinnacles inhabited by the moray eels Gymnothorax flavimarginatus and G. javanicus in the northern Red Sea, Egypt. Release of lionfish (Standard Length 93–104 mm) in such coral pinnacles in November 2016 resulted in almost immediate predation by large moray eels (Total Length > 1 m). Predation by moray eels may be the key control mechanism of population growth in the native biogeographical range of Pterois spp. and may indirectly explain the success of the invasive populations. This is the first video-documented record of moray eels feeding on the lionfish P. miles.

Keywords

Moray eel Predation Pterois Red Sea Scorpaenidae 

Supplementary material

10641_2017_600_MOESM1_ESM.mp4 (109.4 mb)
ESM 1Individual of Gymnothorax flavimarginatus preying on a lionfish Pterois miles on 25 November 2016 in a coral reef off Hurghada, Egypt, Red Sea (MP4 112027 kb)
10641_2017_600_MOESM2_ESM.mp4 (118.2 mb)
ESM 2Individual of Gymnothorax javanicus preying on a lionfish Pterois miles on 25 November 2016 in a coral reef off Hurghada, Egypt, Red Sea (MP4 121004 kb)

References

  1. Abrams RW, Abrams MD, Schein MW (1983) Diurnal observations on the behavioural ecology of Gymnothorax moringa (Cuvier) and Muraena miliaris (Kaup) on a Caribbean coral reef. Coral Reefs 1:185–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abrams RW, Schein MW (1986) Individual movements and population density estimates for moray eels on a Caribbean coral reef. Coral Reefs 5:161–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernadsky G, Goulet D (1991) A natural predator of the lionfish, Pterois miles. Copeia 1:230–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bruno JF, Valdivia A, Hackerott S, Cox CE, Green SJ, Côté IM, Akins L, Layman CA, Precht WF (2013) Testing the grouper biocontrol hypothesis: a response to Mumby et al. 2013. PeerJ PrePrints e139v1Google Scholar
  5. Carpenter KE, Springer VG (2005) The center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity: the Philippine Islands. Environ Biol Fish 72:467–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Côté IM, Green SJ, Hixon MA (2013) Predatory fish invaders: insight from Indo-Pacific lionfish in the western Atlantic and Caribbean. Biol Conserv 164:50–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cure K, Benkwitt CE, Kindinger TL, Pickering EA, Pusack TJ, McIlwain JL, Hixon MA (2012) Comparative behavior of red lionfish Pterois volitans on native Pacific versus invaded Atlantic coral reefs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 467:181–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dickens LC, Goatley CH, Tanner JK, Bellwood DR (2011) Quantifying relative diver effects in underwater visual censuses. PLoS One 6:e18965CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Donaldson TJ, Benavente D, Diaz R (2010) Why are lionfishes (Pterois, Scorpaenidae) so rare in their native ranges? Proceedings of the 63rd gulf and Caribbean. Fisheries Institute 2011:352–359Google Scholar
  10. Fishelson L (1997) Experiments and observations on food consumption, growth and starvation in Dendrochirus brachypterus and Pterois volitans (Pteroinae, Scorpaenidae). Environ Biol Fish 50:391–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Froese R, Pauly D (2015) FishBase. World Wide Web Electronic Publications. http://www.fishbase.org. Accessed on 28 Nov 2016
  12. Gilbert M, Rasmussen JB, Kramer DL (2005) Estimating the density and biomass of moray eels (Muraenidae) using a modified visual census method for hole-dwelling reef fauna. Environ Biol Fish 73:415–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Green SJ, Akins JL, Maljković A, Côté IM (2012) Invasive lionfish drive Atlantic coral reef fish declines. PLoS One 7:e32596CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Hackerott S, Valdivia A, Green SJ, Côté IM, Cox CE, Akins L, Layman CA, Precht WF, Bruno JF (2013) Native predators do not influence invasion success of Pacific lionfish on Caribbean reefs. PLoS One 8:e68259CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hoeksema BW (2007) Delineation of the Indo-Malayan centre of maximum marine biodiversity: the coral triangle. In: Renema W (ed) Biogeography, time, and place: distributions, barriers, and islands. Springer, New York, pp 117–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2011) Spatial analysis of the invasion of lionfish in the western Atlantic and Caribbean. Mar Poll Bull 62:1218–1226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jud ZR, Layman CA, Lee JA, Arrington DA (2011) Recent invasion of a Florida (USA) estuarine system by lionfish Pterois volitans / P. miles. Aquat Biol 13(1):21–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kulbicki M, Beets J, Chabanet P, Cure K, Darling E, Floeter SR, Galzin R, Green A, Harmelin-Vivien M, Hixon M, Letourneur Y (2012) Distributions of Indo-Pacific lionfishes Pterois spp. in their native ranges: implications for the Atlantic invasion. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 446:189–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Luiz OJ, Floeter SR, Rocha LA, Ferreira CEL (2013) Perspectives for the lionfish invasion in the South Atlantic: are Brazilian reefs protected by the currents? Mar Ecol Prog Ser 485:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Maljković A, van Leeuwen TE, Cove SN (2008) Predation on the invasive red lionfish, Pterois volitans (Pisces: Scorpaenidae), by native groupers in the Bahamas. Coral Reefs 27:501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McTee SA, Grubich JR (2014) Native densities, distribution, and diurnal activity of Red Sea lionfishes (Scorpaenidae). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 508:223–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Morris JA, Akins JL (2009) Feeding ecology of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) in the Bahamian archipelago. Environ Biol Fish 86:389–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mumby PJ, Brumbaugh DR, Harborne AR, Roff G (2013) On the relationship between native grouper and invasive lionfish in the Caribbean. PeerJ PrePrints e45v1Google Scholar
  24. Naumann MS, Wild C (2013) Foraging association of lionfish and moray eels in a Red Sea seagrass meadow. Coral Reefs 32:1111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Randall JE, Golani D (1995) Review of the moray eels (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae) of the Red Sea. Bull Mar Sci 56(3):849–880Google Scholar
  26. Willis TJ (2001) Visual census methods underestimate density and diversity of cryptic reef fishes. J Fish Biol 59:1408–1411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Young RF, Winn HE (2003) Activity patterns, diet, and shelter site use for two species of morays eels, Gymnothorax moringa and Gymnothorax vicinus, in Belize. Copeia 2003:44–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur R. Bos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ashraf M. Sanad
    • 3
  • Khamis Elsayed
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyAmerican University in CairoNew CairoEgypt
  2. 2.Naturalis Biodiversity CenterLeidenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Dive Pro AcademyHurghadaEgypt

Personalised recommendations