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Fact Sheet 2014–3032

Invasive Lionfish Use a Diversity of Habitats in Florida

By Pamela J. Schofield, Lad Akins, Denise R. Gregoire-Lucente, and Rachel J. Pawlitz

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.39 MB)Introduction

Two species of lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) are the first marine fishes known to invade and establish self-sustaining populations along the eastern seaboard of the United States. First documented off the coast of Florida in 1985, lionfish are now found along the Atlantic coast of the United States as well as in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Although long-term effects of this invasion are not yet fully known, there is early evidence that lionfish are negatively impacting native marine life.

The lionfish invasion raises questions about which types of habitat the species will occupy in its newly invaded ecosystem. In their native range, lionfish are found primarily on coral reefs but sometimes are found in other habitats such as seagrasses and mangroves. This fact sheet documents the diversity of habitat types in which invasive lionfish have been reported within Florida’s coastal waters, based on lionfish sightings recorded in the U.S. Geological Survey Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database (USGS-NAS).

First posted May 9, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Southeast Ecological Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
7920 NW 71st Street
Gainesville, Florida 32653

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Suggested citation:

Schofield, P.J., Akins, Lad, Gregoire-Lucente, D.R., and Pawlitz, R.J., 2014, Invasive lionfish use a diversity of habitats in Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2014–3032, 2 p.,

ISSN 2327–6932 (online)

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