Grouper VS Lionfish in the Battle for the Caribbean

Discussion in 'Environmental' started by Matt Rogers, May 4, 2010.

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  1. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    I've posted about the non-native Lionfish Caribbean invasion before (here and here) and it is looking pretty dire for small and juvenile fish there that are no match for the formidable Lionfish in some areas. However, a recent picture taken by a recreational diver has scientists really excited as it supports their theory of one local fish that could help. The Grouper. If you look close, you will see a Lionfish head sticking out of the Grouper's mouth in this photo. This should be no big surprise for those of us that have had Groupers in aquariums before. They are eating machines. Chalk one up for the Grouper. Many more to go.

    [​IMG]
    Grouper Swallowing Lionfish in Nassau - Credit: Lyle Gremillion

    Background on photo: The dive was in 35 to 40 feet of water at the site Cave Reef near Nassau, Bahamas. Lyle estimated the Nassau grouper as 3 feet in length. It was a night dive and the photo was taken about 8:15 p.m. Lyle commented that there seemed to be plenty of grouper in the area. There were also plenty of lionfish (20) on this particular site. Lyle did not see the grouper eat the fish, though it acted stunned “because it sat there motionless with this thing sticking out of its mouth.”

    Source:
    Grouper Eating Lionfish?
     
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  3. bwalker9801

    bwalker9801 Zoanthid

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    I was diving a few weeks ago in Honduras and we got two of them, my buddy who lives there full time says he has been averaging about 3-5 a week.
    I didn't know that grouper would eat them, that's good news but i have to wonder whether the poison will kill the grouper? The comment say's the grouper "acted stunned".
     
  4. phoenixhieghts

    phoenixhieghts Panda Puffer

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    Im surprised the lion fish spikes dont sting the grouper to death.
     
  5. pgoodsell

    pgoodsell Horrid Stonefish

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    I was thinking the same thing. How long did the grouper make it after that?
     
  6. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    I thought about the venom too. Lionfish stings are not fatal, at least in humans, perhaps the Grouper was just in severe pain for a while:

    Lionfish and Stonefish: eMedicine Emergency Medicine

    WikiAnswers - Is the lion fish poisonous
    (FWIW)


    My next question is, will a Grouper that experienced a lot of pain eating a Lionfish, eat another one? Does that '2 second memory' come into play? :)
     
  7. gabbagabbawill

    gabbagabbawill Pajama Cardinal

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    It has been proven by universities and testing that fish do have a memory, so it's likely that the grouper would either have to be really hungry or not care about the pain enough to eat a 2nd one. I doubt that the next grouper coming along would learn from his buddy getting stung, however.

    MythBusters Episode 11: Sinking Titanic, Goldfish Memory, Trombone Explosion
     
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  9. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Aye I've read articles debunking the fish memory myth lately. That part was me trying to be funny. ;) Just keeping fish will show you that is a myth. You should have seen my fish last night following me around because I hadn't fed them yet.
     
  10. gabbagabbawill

    gabbagabbawill Pajama Cardinal

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    yeah... I wasn't sure if you were being funny or not, but I get it now...

    So, something the article didn't say was where the lionfish are coming from... are they fish that aquarium owners are likely dumping into the ocean, or did they migrate from the Pacific?
     
  11. bwalker9801

    bwalker9801 Zoanthid

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    I have heard two theories one is that they were released after hurricane Andrew hit Miami and the other is from irresponsible aquarium owners, my guess is a combination of the two.
     
  12. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    I've read the same. I don't think anyone can truly know though.