The Coastal Star

Recently Lionfish sightings have been on the rise in the waters between the Jupiter and Boca Raton Inlets. Observations by local divers have increased from an occasional sighting to reports of up to five lionfish seen per dive over the last several months. On Saturday June 12, Reef Rescue divers obtained close up video of a pair of Lionfish occupying an underwater cave, 70 feet below the surface, on Gulf Stream Reef, Boynton Beach. The Lionfish were not intimidated by the divers and as seen in the video the fish display defensive/territorial behavior. The fish adopt a head-down posture pointing their venomous dorsal spines toward the divers and shaking their bodies in what may be a threat display. Swarms of fry can be seen in and around the Lionfish cave, however it is unlikely the fry are Lionfish offspring, since Lionfish are believed to be pelagic spawners dispersing their eggs in the water column. It is more likely the voracious Lionfish view the fry as food. Lionfish are invasive species and threaten the ecosystems since they have no natural enemies and pry upon native fish.
Ed Tichenor

Palm Beach County Reef rescue

www.reef-rescue.org

561 699-8559

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