Alternate Title

Oldest Indo-Pacific Lionfish (Pterois volitans/P. miles) Recorded From the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico

Document Type

Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Partnership


Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles) were first detected off the coast of Florida in the 1980s, with aquaria release being the most likely mechanism for introduction. Since then, lionfish have proliferated through the Western Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Here, we report the oldest lionfish aged on record in the Western Atlantic, removed from Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) in the GOM. In August 2018, a research expedition removed 745 lionfish from FGBNMS, of which a subset were retained for age and growth estimation. The oldest lionfish was a 10 y old male, with total length 375 mm and weight 805 g. The back-calculated birth date (2008) preceded the first observation of lionfish at FGBNMS by 3 years (2011). It is not well understood if lionfish are having negative impacts at FGBNMS, but this report signifies the importance of continued monitoring and removal efforts of this protected area.

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