|Copyright: Fred Hardaway (Deon01)
|Date Taken: 2004-08-22|
|Camera: Canon Powershot A20, SanDisk CF 256MB|
|Exposure: f/2.8, 1/4 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2006-06-04 4:40|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [French]|
|Order - Scorpaeniformes|
Family - Scorpaenidae
Genus - Pterois
Species - volitans
The red lionfish is an inhabitant of near and offshore coral and rocky reefs to depths of 50 meters. The species shows a clear preference for sheltering under ledges or in caves or crevices by day. In these refugia the species exhibits a nearly motionless posture, the head tilted slightly downward. Some sources also record red lionfish as occurring in bays, estuaries, and even harbors.
Lionfishes are among the most resplendent of all coral reef fishes, conspicuous for their elongate fin elements, bold patterning and seeming indifference to the potential threats posed by other reef dwelling predators. A member of the distinctive scorpion fish family, their extravagant dress and bold habits are notable even in relation to other scorpionfishes.
Scorpionfishes get their common name from their ability to defend themselves with a venomous "sting" or stab. Venom glands at the base of certain fin spines produce a number of toxins (collectively "venom") that are injected in a potential predator via the spines. The venom of the red lionfish may be delivered by spines of the dorsal, anal and pelvic fins and is known to cause a severe reaction in humans.
The red lionfish is highly variable in appearance but is basically zebra-banded in red and white. The soft dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are spotted. Factors contributing to variation in this basic pattern may include the age of the fish, biogeography, and population genetics.
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