Lionfish (Scorpaenidae) move about by slowly undulating the soft rays of the dorsal and anal fins. During the day, they often retreat to ledges and crevices among the rocks and corals. They may live alone for the majority of their lives and will fiercely defend their home ranges from other lionfish and other species of fish. However, they may live in small groups when they are juveniles and during the spawning season. Male lionfish are more aggressive than females, especially during the mating season. Males will aggressively attack other males who attempt to invade their territory.
Lionfish are carnivorous, feeding mainly on crustaceans and fish. Lionfish are thought to be nocturnal hunters, but they have been found with full stomachs during the day in the Atlantic.
Lionfish are native to the Indo-Pacific oceanic region which extends from western Australia and Malaysia east to French Polynesia and the Pitcairn Islands but more recently have been spotted in the warmer coral regions of the eastern Atlantic Ocean around the Azores and extending into the Mediterranean Sea, and also in the Caribbean Sea and in the Red Sea.
Lionfish are widely regarded as high impact, invasive predators on reefs and structures throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Efforts to control their growth include promoting lionfish as a potential food source, with lionfish showing up on high-end menus at some very nice restaurants. It is said to be delicious. Beautiful but deadly, lionfish are a tenacious introduced species with the potential to do significant damage to native populations if not controlled.
A lionfish will often spread its feathery pectoral fins and herd small fish into a confined space where it can more easily swallow them.