MEPS 367:233-238 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/meps07620

Invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish Pterois volitans reduce recruitment of Atlantic coral-reef fishes

Mark A. Albins*, Mark A. Hixon

Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, 3029 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA

ABSTRACT: The Indo-Pacific lionfish Pterois volitans, introduced to Florida waters in the early 1990s, is currently spreading rapidly throughout the Caribbean region. This invasive carnivore may cause deleterious changes in coral-reef ecosystems via predation on native fishes and invertebrates as well as competition with native predators. We conducted a controlled field experiment using a matrix of translocated coral and artificial patch reefs to examine the short-term effects of lionfish on the recruitment of native reef fishes in the Bahamas. Lionfish caused significant reductions in the recruitment of native fishes by an average of 79% over the 5 wk duration of the experiment. This strong effect on a key life stage of coral-reef fishes suggests that invasive lionfish are already having substantial negative impacts on Atlantic coral reefs. While complete eradication of lionfish in the Atlantic is likely impossible, it would be prudent to initiate focused lionfish control efforts in strategic locations.


KEY WORDS: Invasive species · Predation · Community interactions · Piscivory · Marine fishes


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Cite this article as: Albins MA, Hixon MA (2008) Invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish Pterois volitans reduce recruitment of Atlantic coral-reef fishes. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 367:233-238

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