The exotic red lionfish (Pterois volitans) was captured in Everglades National Park, Florida on April 6, 2010. The lionfish is a venomous predatory fish native to the Indian and Pacific oceans and first observed in South Florida in the 1980s. The rapid expansion of the lionfish invasion throughout the southeastern Atlantic seaboard, the Caribbean and parts of the Gulf of Mexico is of great concern to the National Park Service and other marine resource managers. Lionfish are voracious predators of fish and invertebrates capable of removing tremendous amounts of prey and causing ecological impacts to coral reefs and other habitats, which are already stressed by coral bleaching, fishing pressure, pollution and other impacts. Lionfish also present risks of stings from their venomous spines to visitors and employees. A species is considered invasive it is nonnative to the ecosystem and its introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. The goal of the U.S. Department of Agricultureâs (USDA) Forest Service (FS) invasive species program is to reduce, minimize, or eliminate the potential for introduction, establishment, spread, and impact of invasive species across all landscapes and ownerships. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.
May 5, 2014
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