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Lionfish on the Loose in the Waters off Saint Vincent

Journal Authors: 
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine if the exotic venomous species, Pterois volitans (lionfish) had reached as far south as St Vincent in the Caribbean. This predatory marine fish has successfully invaded the waters of the Western Atlantic and the Caribbean. Such success as an exotic invasive species is rare for a predatory marine fish. It is possible that the fish are growing larger and spreading faster than anticipated, thanks to a lower burden of parasites and a paucity of natural predators in their new environment. But prior to this report, no sightings of this species this far south had been reported.
Methods: The authors conducted a search along with the help of local divers and fishermen in the waters of St Vincent.
Results: Approximately one year after the initiation of the search, a juvenile specimen was positively confirmed and captured off the southern coast of St Vincent.
Conclusions: The exotic predatory and venomous red lionfish, Pterois volitans, has successfully invaded marine waters as far south as the Windward Islands. Fishermen in these regions should be aware of this venomous species in the region and physicians must be aware of how to manage stings from such animals.
13 Oct, 2013
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e-Published: 04 Mar, 2014
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