Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

The red lionfish, Pterois volitans, was first reported at San Salvador, Bahamas in January 2006; by 2009 they were common in waters 2 to 40 m deep around the island. Among the 5,078 fish observed on shallow patch reefs in 2007, only two were P. volitans; they were much more prevalent in deeper water along San Salvador’s platform wall. Captured P. volitans ranged in size from 19-32 cm, all longer than maturity length. Pallid goby (Coryphopterus eidolon), blackcap basslet (Gramma melacara) and red night shrimp (Rynchocienetes rigens) were the most commonly identified stomach contents. Our study in 2007 also collected data on coral and fish communities at three, near-shore patch reef complexes (Rice Bay, Rocky Point, Lindsay Reef, and compared the results to a similar study done in 2001, before P. volitans was discovered at San Salvador. Scleractinian and, therefore, total coral species richness decreased significantly from 2001 to 2007; however, coral percentage cover increased significantly by approximately 50% during the same period, probably due to a more precise estimation procedure rather than a real increase. Even after adjustment for CPUE (2.25 more effort in 2007 than in 2001), significantly more fish were observed in 2007 than in 2001. Continued monitoring of lionfish numbers and potentially associated changes in patch reef ecology is recommended.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Alexander, A. K., & Haynes, J. M. (2011). Red lionfish (Pterois volitans) invade San Salvador, Bahamas: No early effects on coral and fish communities. The International Journal of Bahamian Studies, 17(2), 50-66. Retrieved from http://journals.sfu.ca/cob/index/php

Publisher Statement

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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