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Monday, March 7, 2011

Mutton snapper recorded eating lionfish

Hello there!

Some weeks ago we were sent this amazing video that we think it is worth to share with all of you! We are very happy to see that more species are eating the lionfish in this Caribbean Area as you know it is an invasive species.

Below more information about the video and lionfish efforts to erradicate it! Video credited to Healthy Reefs for Healthy people Initiative, Smithsonian Institution.

January 12, 2011 West End Wall, Roatan, Honduras

Location: 16.26905 N 86.60288 W Depth: 80 ft

In the video you can see licensed lionfish hunter and Healthy Reefs Coordinator in Honduras, Ian Drysdale, feed a speared (and dead) lionfish to a mutton snapper, as an interested nassau grouper looks on. The video was taken by Melanie McField, Director of the Healthy Reefs Initiate. Still photos were taken by Marisol Rueda, Healthy Reefs Coordinator in Mexico. The incident occurred about 15 minutes into the dive. The Nassau grouper began following Ian about 5-10 minutes into the dive and the mutton snapper joined along shortly after. Both fish seemed particularly interested in following Ian and watching the spear keenly. Spearfishing is banned in HN and the fish show no fear of the spear or the divers in general. In response to the lionfish problem authorities are allowing managers like the Roatan Marine Park to license certain trained individuals to use special lionfish spears to remove lionfish from the reef inside and outside the Roatan marine park. Both fish were approximately 30-40cm length. Dive guides from Roatan also report that the following species have been seen consuming speared lionfish: groupers (several species), snappers (including mutton and yellowtail) spotted and green morays, and grey reef sharks. Some plan to attempt to
train the fish to consume live lionfish, as has been reported from Cayman.