Lionfish were first sighted in the mid-1990s, and news of their presence off the coast of North Carolina broke in 2000. Within two years, reports were coming out that they had spread to Florida, Georgia, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. Todd Gardner, a graduate student at Hofstra University at the time, found evidence during the summer of 2001 that lionfish may have been reproducing in the Atlantic: he captured a small juvenile in the shallow waters of Long Island. Since about 2004, lionfish populations seem to have exploded and sightings have become ever more common in the southeastern United States and many Caribbean islands.
From shallow reefs to deep wrecks, lionfish may be here to stay.
Read full article at Coral Magazine
Story and photos by MATTHEW L. WITTENRICH