(J. W. Bennett, 1828)
Pterois miles, the devil firefish or common lionfish, is a species of ray-finned fish native to the western Indo-Pacific region. The common lionfish is frequently confused with its close relative, the red lionfish (Pterois volitans). The scientific name is from Greek pteron, meaning "wing", and Latin miles, meaning "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 or 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 heads and bodies. 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 has also recently been reported in the eastern and central Mediterranean Sea, near Cyprus, and also in Malta. 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.
It is very similar in appearance to P. volitans, which does not occur in the Red Sea. P. miles is usually found in areas with crevices or lagoons, often on the outer slopes of coral reefs. Moray eels have recently been identified as natural predators of P. miles in its native habitat in the Red Sea.
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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.
- "University Research Discovers New Alien Species In Maltese Waters". Malta Today. 2016.
- Siliotti, A. (2002) fishes of the red sea Verona, Geodia ISBN 88-87177-42-2
- Bos A.R., Sanad A.M., Elsayed K. (2017). "Gymnothorax spp. (Muraenidae) as natural predators of the lionfish Pterois miles in its native biogeographical range". Environmental Biology of Fishes. 100 (6): 745–748. doi:10.1007/s10641-017-0600-7.