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Lion’s of the Ocean

 

Lion’s of the Ocean

Lionfishes is a group of venomous marine fish, native to the Indo-Pacific and belongs to the family Scorpaenidae. Pterois is characterized by conspicuous warning coloration with red, white, creamy, or black bands, brightly coloured pectoral fins, and venomous fin rays. Lionfish venom can cause extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, breathing difficulties, convulsions, dizziness, redness on the affected area, headache, numbness, paresthesia (pins and needles), heartburn, diarrhea, and sweating. Rarely, such stings can cause temporary paralysis of the limbs, heart failure, and even death. Fatalities are common in very young children, the elderly, those with a weak immune system, or those who are allergic to their venom. Their venom is rarely fatal to healthy humans.

The lionfishes are voracious feeders and are carniverous. There are total 15 species of lionfishes worldwide. These are known to live up to 15 years. They feed mostly on small fish, invertebrates, and molluscs.

In India five species of lionfishes are commonly found primarily in the coral reef areas of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar and Gulf of Mannar.

Spotfin Lionfish Pterois antennata: This is an uncommon species compared to its relatives. Note the filamentous extensions and blue spots on the dorsal fin.

Spotfin Lionfish

 

Clearfin Lionfish Pterois radiata: Has distinct horizontal white lines on its caudal fin. This is the only lionfish species which has spines without any markings.

Clearfin Lionfish Pterois radiata

 

Red Lionfish Pterois volitans: one of the most wide spread species and very popular in marine aquariums.

 

Lionfish Pterois volitans

 

Common Lionfish Pterois miles: It is smaller than Red Lionfish. The dorsal fin appears feathery and the pectoral fins are wing-like with separate broad, smooth rays.

Pterois miles

 

Zebra Lionfish Dendrochirus zebra: Pectoral fins are large, banded and fan-like that flare out on either side of the body. It has thirteen venomous spines along its back.

Dendrochirus zebra

 

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