Welcome to our most invasive and venimous exhibit, Lionfish. These beautiful fish are native to the Indo-Pacific. They wound up here in the Atlantic in the mid 1980s. Unfortunately, that does not give our natural predators time to quite recognize them as a food source. With females being able to produce millions of eggs a year, their population is growing rapidly. This particular species is very hardy, able to deal with a variety of temperatures, salinities and depths. These interesting lionfish also have a huge appetite. They can expand their stomachs upwards to about 30 times its normal size. That is out competing many of our local fish and invertebrates. With, these factors all coupled together, we are seeing a huge outbreak of lionfish. One great thing about Lionfish is that they taste amazing. They say the best way to beat a Lionfish is to eat one. As an invasive species, there is no size, season or limit to your bag. Although the proper techniques to catching a Lionfish, is a spear gun. Spearfishing is a very effective and safe way to collect Lionfish yourself, but those beautiful spines on the back are venomous, so you do have to be cautious while collecting and filleting this species. Although the venom of the Lionfish will affect a person differently, it will not affect the meat. Check out a lot of local restaurants that offer Lionfish as one of our local fish.
Now, let's continue to our Largest Exhibits, the Coral Reef and Predator Reef tanks.