Red Lionfish Pterois volitans

Identity card

Red Lionfish

Scientific name:
Pterois volitans
Year of description:
Linnaeus, 1758
IUCN Status:
Least Concern

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


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


They can reach a length of 38 cm.


Red lionfish eat other fish and crustaceans.


10 years

Red Lionfish Pterois volitans

A member of the scorpaenidae family, the red lionfish can inflict a painful sting

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. It has become an invasive species and interferes with the ecosystem of coral reefs.

Did you know?

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.

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

Where is the animal to be found?

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

How can it be recognised?

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

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

What is distinctive about it?

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.

Where can I find it at Nausicaá?


Red Lionfish

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