MEPS 558:193-206 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11838

Diet of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) in Bermuda

Corey Eddy1,*, Joanna Pitt2, James A. Morris Jr.3, Struan Smith4, Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley5, Diego Bernal1

1University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747, USA
2Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of Bermuda, PO Box CR52, Crawl CRBX, Bermuda
3National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
4Bermuda Natural History Museum/Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo, PO Box FL145, Flatts FL BX, Bermuda
5Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, 17 Biological Lane, Ferry Reach, St George’s, Bermuda
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: As a generalist and opportunistic predator, lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) consume large quantities of juvenile reef fish and invertebrates, as well as the adults of small-bodied species. To better understand the impacts of these fishes upon invaded coral reef ecosystems, we describe the feeding habits of invasive lionfish in Bermuda based on stomach contents analysis, and the influence that environmental factors have on their diet via spatial and temporal changes in prey availability. Relative to other regions throughout the northwestern Atlantic, lionfish in Bermuda consume a greater proportion of crustaceans, and their diet appears to rely upon the relative abundance of available prey species. A poorly -known crustacean, the red night shrimp Cinetorhynchus rigens, is the species of greatest importance to the diet of Bermuda lionfish. Currently, herbivorous fishes do not make a major contribution to their diet, although the lionfish frequently target both ecologically (e.g. bluehead wrasse Thalassoma bifasciatum) and economically important species (e.g. Atlantic creolefish Paranthias furcifer).


KEY WORDS: Invasive lionfish · Feeding ecology · Stomach contents · Diet · Resource use


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Cite this article as: Eddy C, Pitt J, Morris JA Jr, Smith S, Goodbody-Gringley G, Bernal D (2016) Diet of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) in Bermuda. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 558:193-206. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11838

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