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LATIN NAME: Pterois volitans

FAMILY: Scorpaenidae

PHYLUM: Chordata

CLASS: Actinopterygii

This fish is poisonous. The red lionfish has long spines along its dorsal fin.

Its body has alternating light and dark-coloured vertical stripes.

It lives in lagoons, coral reefs, on rocky slopes or overhangs, in estuaries and dark areas up to 55 metres deep.

Red lionfish eat other fish and crustaceans.

They can reach a length of 38 cm. This is an oviparous or egg-laying species.

  • Distribution :

    Tropical waters of the Eastern Indian Ocean and Western Pacific. They can also be found in the Caribbean Sea.
  • IUCN Status :

    Least concern. However, this species was introduced into the Caribbean. It has become an invasive species and interferes with the ecosystem of coral reefs.

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Find out more about the Red lionfish

Red lionfish are nocturnal hunters. They spread their pectoral fins as wide as possible then close them around their prey. In this way, they create a sort of enclosure around their mouth. By rapidly opening their mouth, they create a negative pressure enabling them to suck in their food.

The red lionfish is at the top of the food chain. This venomous species has almost no predators except for the bluespotted cornetfish, some groupers and the giant trevally, which explains its proliferation in the Caribbean Sea.

A member of the scorpaenidae family, the red lionfish can inflict a painful sting and it should be handled with care.

40,000: The maximum number of eggs that a female can lay.

The inhabitants of the Caribbean came up with a good idea for combating this invasion. They circulated recipes and encouraged the commercial fishing of red lionfish.




Crédits photo du bandeau : © D.Mallevoy
Crédits photo de la galerie : © Sophie FALLON / © D.Mallevoy

Activities AT NAUSICAA


Every day, there are events focused on Nausicaa’s main species. With training and feeding sessions and talks on life in Europe’s largest aquarium, your visit will be a rich and entertaining experience!
Learn about the life of fishes, hear some surprising stories and enjoy the antics of some amazing animals.

Meet our 58 000 animals