March 18, 2014
A total of nine of the brown and white striped fish, eight red lionfish and one clearfin lionfish, have taken up residence in one of the aquarium’s tropical marine displays.
Normally found living among the coral reefs of Pacific Ocean, the fish are renowned as highly efficient predators.
“They are only youngsters but appear to be settling in well and have already started feeding on the frozen food we train them to eat,” said Blue Reef’s Steve Matchett.
“In the wild they are known as ambush hunters – a lot like their land-based namesakes and, just like lions, they’re also fearsome predators.
“Lionfish will hang virtually motionless on the edges of coral reefs and other rocky outcrops waiting for unsuspecting victims to swim into range.
“They then use their large fins to corner their prey before suddenly extending their bellow like jaws to gulp their hapless victims down.
“They have a fearsome reputation so have to be housed with other fish of a similar size and lifestyle, they can eventually grow to over 40cm!” he added.
The lionfish is covered with poison tipped fins which it uses to protect itself from would-be attackers.
When disturbed, the fish spread and display their fins, and, if further pressed, will attack with the dorsal spines inflicting painful, though rarely fatal, puncture wounds.
Issued by the Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information please contact Steve Matchett on 01637 878134.