Extent and Speed of Lionfish Spread Unprecedented
Source: U.S. Geological Survey
March 14, 2011
Gainesville, FL - "The rapid spread of lionfishes along the U.S. eastern seaboard, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean is the first documented case of a non-native marine fish establishing a self-sustaining population in the region, according to recent U.S. Geological Survey studies.
"Nothing like this has been seen before in these waters," said Dr. Pam Schofield, a biologist with the USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center here. "We've observed sightings of numerous non-native species, but the extent and speed with which lionfish have spread has been unprecedented; lionfishes pretty much blanketed the Caribbean in three short years."
More than 30 species of non-native marine fishes have been sighted off the coast of Florida alone, but until now none of these have demonstrated the ability to survive, reproduce, and spread successfully. Although lionfishes originally came from the Indo-West Pacific Ocean, there are now self-sustaining populations spreading along the western Atlantic coast of the U.S. and throughout the Caribbean."
To read the full text of the article, click here.