Alternate Title

Record Body Size for the Red Lionfish, Pterois volitans (Scorpaeniformes), in the Southern Gulf of Mexico

Document Type

Short Communication


Non-native species are those that have been transported, via human actions, from one continent and introduced into another (Lockwood et al. 2007). In the 1980s, red lionfish, Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758), traded in the US aquarium industry from the Pacific Ocean, was introduced into the coral reefs off Florida's coast by aquarium hobbyists (Morris and Whitfield 2009). It is unknown how this introduction occurred, but after more than 20 years the red lionfish population is widespread, occupying a large portion of the Western Atlantic (Schofield 2010) where it represents a threat to the marine ecosystem (Green et al. 2012). The population appears impossible to eradicate since it can live to depths up to 100 m, where individuals consume native small crustaceans and reef fish (Morris and Akins 2009, Green et al. 2012).

Relatively nothing is known regarding biological aspects of the red lionfish in the southern Gulf of Mexico (GOM), despite this being the area of the GOM where lionfish were first detected in late 2009 (Aguilar-Perera and Tuz-Sulub 2010). The present note aims to document the presence of a large-bodied P. volitans whose size is the maximum ever recorded in the GOM.

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