Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Animal Spotlight: red lionfish

Though native to the Indo-Pacific region of the world, the red lionfish (Pterois volitans) is commonly found on the North Carolina coast and in the Atlantic Ocean. Many scientists blame Hurricane Andrew for the lionfish’s accidental introduction to the area in 1992. 
Lionfish use 13 venomous dorsal spines to sting their prey as they glide along rocks and coral while hunting at night. During the day, these animals usually stay hidden in caves and crevices. With no natural predators in the area, this invasive species threatens native animals by encroaching upon their prey and habitats. 

Three red lionfish make their home in the Exotics Aquatics gallery at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

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