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You are here: Home / Aquatic Species / Species Profiles / Lionfish
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Scientific name: Pterois volitans (Linnaeus) (ITIS)

Common names: Lionfish, lion fish, zebrafish, firefish, turkeyfish, red lionfish, butterfly cod, ornate butterfly-cod, peacock lionfish, red firefish, scorpion volitans

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Selected Resources

Native To: Western Pacific Ocean (NAS Database)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 1980s (Morris and Whitfield 2009)

Means of Introduction: Aquarium trade (Morris and Whitfield 2009)

Impact: Preys on native species; has venomous spines (Morris and Whitfield 2009)

Current U.S. Distribution:



Selected Resources:


Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.


Texas Invasives Database - Pterois volitans

Invasive Species Compendium - Pterois volitans
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Pterois volitans (fish)
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


Biology, Ecology, Control and Management of the Invasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish: An Updated Integrated Assessment (Dec 2009; PDF | 2.7 MB)
DOC. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

DOC. NOAA. National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.

About the Exotic Indo-Pacific Lionfish
DOI. NPS. Biscayne National Park.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database - Pterois volitans
DOI. USGS. Southeast Ecological Science Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).

Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Pterois volitans
Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.


Lionfish - Pterois volitans
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

Lionfish: The Next Potential Threat to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States (PDF | 386 KB)
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Saltwater Recreational Fishing License Program.


Alabama Aquatic Nuisance Species Series: Venomous Lionfish (Oct 2013; PDF | 283 KB)
Alabama A&M University; Auburn University. Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Marine Invaders: The Lionfish (PDF | 644 KB)
University of Florida. IFAS Extension. Collier County.

Red Lionfish - Biological Profiles
University of Florida. Florida Museum of Natural History. Ichthyology Department.

Invasive Species: Red Lionfish (PDF | 198 KB)
University of Georgia. Marine Extension Service.

Aquatic Invader Toolkit - Red Lionfish (PDF | 571 KB)
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.

Animal Diversity Web - Pterois volitans
University of Michigan. Museum of Zoology.

Introduced Species Summary Project - Lionfish
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.


The Bahamas: Stopping the Lionfish
Nature Conservancy.

Lionfish Research Program
Reef Environmental Education Foundation.


Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Pterois volitans. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

Morris, J.A. and P.E. Whitfield. 2009. Biology, Ecology, Control and Management of the Invasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish: An Updated Integrated Assessment (PDF | 3.53 MB). (NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 99). NOAA Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Pterois volitans/miles. USGS, Gainesville, FL. [Accessed Sep 16, 2014].

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Last Modified: Nov 18, 2015
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