Species Index

Pterois volitans
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Name: Common Lionfish

Distribution: Common throughout the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Pacific Ocean: Cocos-Keeling Islands and Western Australia, east to the Pitcairn group, north to southern Japan and southern Korea, south to Lord Howe Island, northern New Zealand and the Austral Islands. In Australia recorded from Perth in Western Australia, across the tropical north including the Gulf of Carpentaria, Torres Strait and the Coral Sea, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, south to around Sydney in New South Wales.

Ecological Notes: Frequents lagoon and seaward reefs, including turbid inshore waters. Usually in gutters, caves or overhangs, rarely seen in mid water. Depth to 50 m.

Additional Notes: Variable in colour from a dark red through brown to almost black, with flag like membranes on extended pectoral fin rays and on dorsal spines. Often solitary and usually easily approached underwater adopting a head on defensive attitude. Poisonous spines may inflict extremely painful wound. Feeds on invertebrates and small fish which it traps into a corner with its widespread pectoral fins. Sub adult shown in middle photograph. Grows to 38 cm.

References: R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.76.

Atlas of Living Australia website at Accessed 05/07/18.

FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. Accessed 05/07/18.