The lionfish is an incredibly fierce predator for instance when faced with an attacker rather than back down this predator will accept any challenge put foward by any predator regardless of their size. The lionfish will potentially attack and consume anything it possibly can, along with this they even consume the smaller fish and even the craustaceans. The problem with this predator is not only do they eat anything but that they eat a lot of it ,One experiment conducted in the Bahamas found that lionfish can gobble up 79 percent of juvenile fish in a reef in just a five week period. The stomach of the lionfish can expand up to 30 times its original size, this animal will eat anything that can fit into its mouth and consuming up to 6% of its body weight in food each day and even with this ferocious appetite the lionfish can go up to 12 weeks without food making it a resilient.
THE HUGE STOMACH OF THE LIONFISH. PHOTO COURTESY OF KARA WAL
Along with the lionfish being such a fierce predator it also has another line of defense VENOM. Every single spine of the lionfish is venomous along with the 13 dorsal spines, 3 anal spines and the 2 pelvic spines. The venom which they possess contain the toxin acetylcholine which affects neuromuscular transmission. Human reaction to the lionfish venom range from swelling, extreme pain and paralysis of the upper and lower extremities. The severity of the reactions by humans depends on the amount of venom the person has been injected with along with their immune system and the location of the sting. T heir venom is rarely fatal to humans but there are some specices with can inject enough venom to cause discomfort for a few days. It goes without saying that precautions must be taken when handling this animal both in the wild and in the kitchen.
Photo of lionfish showing its venomous spines
BY TAMIKA RAMPERSAD