TPW Magazine/Invasive: Lionfish

Lionfish, CHASE FOUNTAIN, TPWD ©2013

Lionfish, CHASE FOUNTAIN, TPWD ©2013

This is Passport to Texas

Since 1986, scientists have followed the spread of Lionfish from the south Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico.

04— So far their effect in the Gulf has been minimal; but that will change.

Melissa Gaskill is a science and travel writer living in Austin. She wrote an article about the potential problem of Lionfish for the December issue of TPW Magazine, on newsstands now.

11—They’re very voracious eaters, and they eat everything and anything. They eat all kinds of fish; they’ll eat anything that can fit in their mouth. And they’ll eat and eat and eat, and just grow and grow and grow. And nothing eats them.

We may have saltwater aquarium enthusiasts to “thank” for the current Lionfish situation.

07— Someone probably got fed up with their pet lionfish eating all of their other pet fish and just decided to dump them in the south Atlantic.

In addition to the species’ voracious appetite, it’s also a prolific breeder.

23— They spawn more often than most reef fish; they also spawn in pairs. And when they reproduce, their little fishies drift on currents; so it’s inevitable they’d end up in this part of the Gulf given prevailing currents. And scientists and divers have been able to watch this gradual and not so gradual spread. They were first seen out around the Flower Gardens, and now they’ve been seen closer to our coast.

Tomorrow: managing this invasive species with butter and lemon.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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