A new North Carolina State University study examining two native lionfish regions in the Pacific and five invading regions in the Atlantic showed the greatest genetic similarities between lionfish in the region of Taiwan and the Bahamas, suggesting a population near Taiwan was the source of the invading species.
Lionfish were introduced to the Atlantic in the mid-1980s, most likely as the result of a marine ornamental aquarium trade. In the Atlantic, P. volitans acts differently from the native Pacific species. Known to be shadowy and furtive in their native Pacific waters, lionfish – freed from Pacific predators – become voracious predators in the Atlantic, responsible for massive reef fish kills, devastating economically important grouper and snapper. Plus, they rival rabbits in procreation.
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