Invasive lionfish moving into southwest Atlantic


Lionfish, a species that in many ways seems custom-built for invasion, are establishing a presence in the western South Atlantic. (Photo courtesy of Carlos Ferreira)

The lionfish, a highly invasive Indo-Pacific fish species that has damaged reef ecosystems in the western North Atlantic in recent decades, has begun to multiply in the western South Atlantic, researchers report. In a study published in June in the journal Biological Invasions, an international team of researchers reported three confirmed sightings of lionfish off northeast Brazil in 2020, bringing to five the number of such sightings since 2014. One of the 2020 sightings involved the collection of a lionfish in the waters of an archipelago off Brazil’s northeastern coast. Two others were caught by local fisherman off the mouth of the Amazon River near deep, mesophotic reefs. And since publication of the Biological Invasions study, more than a dozen lionfish have been sighted in the same two areas—evidence, researchers say, that the invasive fish could soon wreak havoc on the region’s reefs. Lionfish are becoming one of... [Log in to read more]

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