Fish ID: The Lionfish

Fish ID: The Lionfish

Those of you who have dived in any of the warm ocean habitats might have come across the lionfish. The Maldives is no exception – this beautiful and somehow notorious fish can be found at several dives sites in the Maldives’ atolls.

The lionfish has a very distinct appearance: contrast-coloured zebra stripes and long, showy pectoral fins. They can vary in size and colours, the lionfish found in the Maldives are mostly brown or redish. You won’t normally see a fast lionfish, they are slow-moving creatures, oftentimes seen hovering around reef crevices and hiding in overhangs. Yet when it’s lunch time, they use those long pectoral fins to herd fish, shrimp and various types of crustaceans into a location that they can’t escape from. When it comes to food, however, they can be very quick and efficient. It is also estimated their stomach can expand over 30 times in volume when consuming a large prey!

Although not dangerous to humans per se, the lionfish have developed a strong defense mechanism in the form of a venom, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins. Having said that, do not provoke them, make sure you maintain good buoyancy and pay respect by not chasing them from their territory.

To find out more interesting facts about the marine inhabitant of the Maldives, join the next Fish Identification Specialty Course. You’ll find you enjoy your dives with TGI Maldives dive centers even more when you recognise the creatures that you see around the stunning resorts we are based at.