Invasion of the Caribbean waters – Lionfish, Part 2
CKIM Group Inc. is doing a series on the current Lionfish Invasion in the Caribbean waters. Part 1 of our discussion discussed where Lionfish come from and why they are bad for sea life in the Caribbean waters. Click here to view Part 1 of this discussion.
In Part 2, we will discuss what Lionfish eat and how much they eat.
Lionfish will eat just about any crustacean or fish it can catch. Typically sluggish fish expend a lot of energy when hunting. They tend to corner prey using their large fins and then use a lightning-fast gulp to swallow the prey whole. It is believed that they usually approach their prey slowly from below, their splayed fins shielding the movement of their caudal fins so that their prey will not be alarmed. Their bizarre striped coloration may be a useful pattern to disguise it in a reef environment, which also assists in the hunt.
It is not unusual to observe lionfish consuming prey up to 2/3 of their own length.
Researchers in the field observed a large adult lionfish consume over 20 small wrasses (0.4-1.2″) during a 30-minute period.
Lionfish stomachs can expand over 30 times in volume when consuming large prey.
It is recorded that a 1.2″ lionfish cornered and consumed a 0.8″ cottonwick grunt in captivity.
Stay posted for Part 3 of our Series “Invasion of the Caribbean waters-Lionfish,” where we talk about their reproduction rate and the best ways to EAT lionfish!