|Pterois miles - common lionfish|
(J. W. Bennett, 1828)
The common lionfish or devil firefish, Pterois miles, is a species of ray-finned fish native to the western Indo-Pacific region, and is frequently confused with its close relative, the red lionfish (P. volitans). The scientific name is from Greek pteron, wing, and Latin miles, soldier.
The common lionfish grows up to 35 cm (14 in) in length. The dorsal fin has 13 long, strong spines and nine to 11 soft rays, and the anal fin has three long spines and six to seven soft rays. The dorsal fin appears feathery and the pectoral fins are wing-like with separate broad, smooth rays. These fish vary in colour from reddish to tan or grey and have numerous thin, dark, vertical bars on their head and body. Its head is less angular than that of P. volitans.
The common lionfish is mainly nocturnal and may hide in crevices during the daytime. It feeds on fish and small crustaceans. It has few predators, probably because of its venomous spines, but larger lionfish do prey on smaller ones. The bluespotted cornetfish (Fistularia commersonii) has been shown to feed on it, as also do groupers in the Bahamas.
Distribution and habitat
P. miles is native to the Indian Ocean, from the Red Sea, to South Africa, and to Indonesia; it is also known in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is very similar in appearance to P. volitans, which does not occur in the Red Sea, and it has recently been reported in the southeastern Mediterranean Sea, near Cyprus. This fish is usually found in areas with crevices or lagoons, often on the outer slopes of coral reefs. It is also now present off the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean Sea where is regarded as an invasive species.
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The fin spines are highly venomous and have caused death to humans.
Common lionfish near Dunraven wreck (Red Sea)
- "Pterois miles, Devil firefish". Fishbase.org. 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- Schofield, P J; Morris, J A Jr; Langston, J N; Fuller, P L (2012-09-18). "Lionfish: Pterois volitans/miles". Nonindigenous Aquatic Species. USGS. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
- Siliotti, A. (2002) fishes of the red sea Verona, Geodia ISBN 88-87177-42-2