Venomous Lionfish Set to Invade the Mediterranean – Are You Ready?

Red Lionfish

A new “invasive species” of marine life may be on its way to the Mediterranean – one that is both attractive as well as unpleasant – and even poisonous. Known as the Lionfish or Pterois Miles, this colorful and exotic looking fish has already invaded both the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. It is now becoming quite common as far north as the American state of North Carolina, and is competing with other forms of marine life for food.

The seas and oceans of our planet are full of unpleasant marine creatures; including tiny by highly venomous Irudandji jellyfish  which recently killed two Australian eco-bloggers off Western Australia’s beachfront.

Other unpleasant sea creatures include certain species of phytoplankton which under certain climatic conditions cause a condition known as Red Tide that can kill thousands of fish and other forms of marine life.

While the Mediterranean Sea does not have such deadly creatures as the Irukandji jellyfish, it definitely does have its share of common jellyfish which literally invade Eastern Mediterranaean coastal areas during June and July and have clogged up the intake pipes of desalination plants.

Simon Nemtzov, Coordinator for International Treaties and Scientific Authority for the CITES Convention, notified Green Prophet about recent Lionfish sightings in the Eastern Mediterranean, with specimens caught off Lebanon.

Nemtzov, who is connected with Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority (NPA), forwarded an article that appeared in the Mediterranean Marine Science website, dealing with this fish species that is native to the Indian Ocean and Red Sea.

Although not yet seen in large numbers in the Mediterranean, this fish species is characterized by its mane – like fins and poisonous venom that can cause violent reactions in humans unlucky enough to be “finned” by one of these fish.

People who are allergic to bee stings and other similar poisons are especially vulnerable. The lionfish is a voracious predator and feeds on a variety of marine life, especially crustaceans.

Upon contacting Nemtzov, he told Green Prophet that so far this fish species is not yet considered to be threatening to the Mediterranean; and that it probably entered the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, like many other ‘foreign’ marine species. Nemtzov saw the report and decided that it was worth mentioning to ecological organizations and news sites in Israel and elsewhere.

One of his colleagues, Ruth Yahel, a marine ecologist also with the NPA, told Green Prophet that so far she has not  seen or heard much about this fish species being present in the Eastern Mediterranean but will “keep a lookout for it.”

Along with this, we suggest that our readers keep a lookout for it too.

Read more on invasive, dangerous and toxic marine life species:

Spring Festival is in Egyptian Air, Marked by Petrified, Stinky Toxic Fish

Red Tide Blooms Threatens Gulf of Oman, Shut Down Kalba Desalinization Plants

Venomous Irukandji Jellyfish Kills Eco Bloggers

Jellyfish Attack on Israel Power Plant a Clear Sign of Global Warming?

Frontal view of Lionfish by Wikipedia

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