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Invasive Lionfish in Atlantic Ocean cause for concern, says study

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ANI
A recent study on Lionfish suggests that their migration from the Pacific Ocean to Atlantic is impacting other organisms and locals economically.
Lionfish were introduced to the Atlantic in the mid-1980s, most likely as the result of a marine ornamental aquarium trade. In the Atlantic, red Lionfish acts differently from the native Pacific species, according to the details published in the Journal of Biological Invasions.
Known to be shadowy and furtive in their native Pacific waters, Lionfish freed from Pacific predators and further transformed into voracious predators for the Atlantic.
Thus, responsible for massive rabbits, reef fish kills and for devastating locals economically.
"P. volitans [red Lionfish] has a lot going for it in Atlantic waters. They are found at high densities and in some cases can spawn every four days in the Atlantic; their eggs can travel great distances on ocean currents, exacerbating their spread," said Martha Burford Reiskind, one of the authors.
"They are also difficult to handle because of their venomous spines. The population has grown so large that controlling it and not eradicating it, is the primary goal."
Besides learning more about regions that show evidence of rapid evolution, the researchers also examined whether Atlantic or Pacific Lionfish may be hybrid of two Lionfish species.
Specifically researchers wanted to know if P. volitans [Lionfish] had merged with P. miles [Firefish].
"We didn't find any evidence of P. miles or hybrids in our Atlantic Ocean samples. But we can't rule out that the fish introduced to the Atlantic from the Pacific wasn't already some type of hybrid between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean species," Burford Reiskind said.

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First Published: Apr 28 2019 | 9:03 PM IST

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