What's on the move

Common lionfish

Pterois volitans

(Image credit: Antonia Cooper)

An extremely distinctive fish with very long dorsal and pectoral spines. Bright red all over with whitish 'zebra' stripes and long, broad filamentous pectoral and dorsal fin rays. Spotted tail fin. Length of fin ray filaments and tentacle over eye reduces with age.The spines are venomous and act primarily as a defensive strategy. There are very little known predators of lionfish. The body is red to dark red (almost black) with vertical white stripes that join and continue into the fin rays. The fins are banded in alternating white and red bands. The lower jaw is wide tapering to a narrow top of head. Along the jawline and above the eyes are fleshy protrusions that have a similar banded colouration as the rest of the fish. The tail is transparent with non-venomous banded spines. Juveniles are miniature versions of adults with less banding on the fin rays and spines.

Length: Up to 38 cm


Inshore and offshore coral and rocky reefs, lagoons, bays and harbours; 1-55 m depth

Log it

In Western Australia, log this species south of Perth metropolitan area
In New South Wales, log if spotted south of Bate Bay

Related links/info

Species names on the Redmap site are based on the Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota or CAAB (http://www.cmar.csiro.au/caab/). This is updated regularly and lists the approved common name, family, species name and more.

Allen, GR (2009) Field Guide to Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia Western Australian Museum.

Hutchins, B & Swainston, R (1999) Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Swainston Publishing

Find further information and images at FISHES OF AUSTRALIA http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/

Number of sightings 15

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