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Scientific Name

Pterois volitans (Linnaeus) (ITIS)

Common Name

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

Native To

Western Pacific Ocean (NAS Database)

Date of U.S. Introduction
Means of Introduction

Aquarium trade (Morris and Whitfield 2009)


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

Image use policy

Lionfish, adult about 40 miles off the North Carolina coast in 140 feet of water (Summer 2001)


Photo by Paula Whitfield; NOAA, Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research

Find more images


  • Lionfish Invasion: A Threat to North American Ecosystems

    • Apr 1, 2024
    • North America Invasive Species Management Association.

    • The lionfish is a striking yet destructive invasive species that has found its way into the waters of North America, leaving a trail of ecological havoc in its wake. In this blog post, we delve into the alarming impact of lionfish invasion on our local marine environments and the urgent need for concerted action.

  • Scientists Develop a Plan to Manage Lionfish Populations in the Mediterranean

    • Apr 11, 2022
    • University of Plymouth (United Kingdom).

    • Scientists have published a series of recommendations to enable communities and managers to minimise the impact of lionfish in the Mediterranean Sea. The invasive species was first noticed off the coast of the Lebanon in 2012, with sightings since recorded as far west as Sicily, and north into the Adriatic Sea off Croatia. More entered in 2015 due to the enlargement and deepening of the Suez Canal, with their spread unimpeded due to a lack of common predators. Researchers in the UK and Cyprus have said increasing lionfish densities – combined with the species' generalist diet and consumption of ecologically and socio-economically important fish – has the potential to result in further disruption of an already stressed marine environment. They have now published a Guide to Lionfish Management in the Mediterranean [PDF, 8.0 MB], which features a series of recommendations through which they hope lionfish populations can be managed.

  • Study Confirms Invasive Lionfish Now Threaten Species Along Brazilian Coast

    • Jun 3, 2021
    • California Academy of Sciences.

    • Since arriving to the northern Atlantic Ocean less than 30 years ago, lionfish have quickly become one of the most widespread and voracious invasive species, negatively impacting marine ecosystems—particularly coral reefs—from the northeast coast of the United States to the Caribbean Islands. In a new study, an international research team including the California Academy of Sciences presents four new records of lionfish off the coast of Brazil, confirming the invasion of the predatory fish into the South Atlantic for the first time.

  • Lionfish Challenge

  • Lionfish Invitational

    • DOC. NOAA. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

    • NOAA's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) is partnering with Lionfish Invitational, and others to use trained divers to help conduct research and remove invasive lionfish within FGBMNS. This multi-day event is a science-based research expedition in which 11 dive teams work to remove as many lionfish as possible, while also recording helpful data on lionfish activity and sightings. In addition, a science team of 8 divers conducts surveys to determine what species, quantities and sizes of fish are present at each designated site before and after the removals. Applications are due Mar 1, 2024. The 2024 expeditions will take place on the following dates:

      • ​June 23-27, 2024
      • August 11-15, 2024
      • September 8-12, 2024
  • Lionfish News

    • DOC. NOAA. National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.

    • Note: Provides search results for "lionfish"

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status


Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source.

Council or Task Force
Federal Government
State and Local Government