Researchers have discovered that the lionfish, a predator with venomous spines, has invaded Caribbean coral reefs and is eating native species.
The species has invaded an area known as the twilight zone – an area of ocean that lies below scuba diving depths, where little is known about the reefs and the species that inhabit them.
While on a submarine dive, the researchers recorded footage of a lionfish hunting a new species of goby fish that had not yet been named – and this may indicate an uncertain future for other as-yet undiscovered species in unexplored deep-ocean coral reefs.
Researchers from the University of Washington and the Smithsonian Institution say this is the first reported case of lionfish preying upon a fish species that had not yet been named.
Lionfish likely came to the Caribbean from an aquarium release off the coast of Florida in the early 1990s.