How Do Lionfish Affect the Health of Other Fish?

Lionfish affect the health of other marine species because they are diminishing populations of cleaner fish such as shrimp, wrasse and gobies. Cleaner fish are responsible for removing harmful material from native fish and other marine creatures. A lionfish will consume small fish and invertebrates that are designed to work in cleaning stations. Reef fish, turtles and other marine life go to these stations to have parasites and other detritus removed to keep themselves healthy. Typically, these cleaner species are free from predators or harm while doing their work and are able to crawl over the mouths of potential predators. However, lionfish are the exception to this rule and will gorge themselves on cleaner species and decimate entire cleaning stations. The decline in cleaning stations due to lionfish poses a serious threat to the overall health of the creatures that depend on them for survival.

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Author: scott