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Monday, January 19, 2009

The Lionfish Has Arrived

"We knew this 'perfect predator' was coming, we just didn't know when." Florida officials said, following their confirmation of the lionfish in Florida waters. A native of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the lionfish was introduced to Atlantic waters many years ago. Some say it was a natural occurrence, as they were carried on the ballasts of ships, while others say selfish aquarium owners dumped them once they outgrew their confines.

The lionfish, much like the shark, will eat anything it can cram into its mouth and is "a breeding machine." But worst of all, it has a very painful sting. More than just an economic threat to tourism, "Lionfish are altering the diversity of an area that has taken hundreds of thousands of years to adapt and evolve," according to experts.

One compared their devastation to a "swarm of locusts" and another said it "may well become the most devastating marine invasion in history."

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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