Widely spread in the oceans
Red lionfish live near coral reefs in the tropical Pacific and the Red Sea. Young animals often leave their home coral reefs to find a new habitat. This explains the widespread distribution of lionfish species.
In recent years lionfish have also established themselves in the Atlantic on the US coast and in the Mediterranean. The animals were released there by aquarium owners and quickly settled in.
Lionfish can be easily recognized by their particular color and the fan-shaped pectoral fins and rays on their fins and back. Some of these rays are hard spines which contain glands with venom. This venomis not fatal to humans, but it can cause severe physical reactions. Since the injected toxin is thermally labile, immersing the affected area in hot water helps neutralize it.
On the hunt
When it gets dark it is possible in nature to see large groups of lionfish looking for food. The lionfish often hunt together with some conspecifics and use their pectoral fins to corner the prey and then suck it in. Larger animals often feed on small fish, while small specimens increasingly hunt crustaceans as prey.