Click here for the most up-to-date lionfish distribution (our Real-Time Point Distribution Map)
Schofield (2009) provides an overview of lionfish occurrences in the Atlantic and Caribbean through August 2009. An update to this article (Schofield 2010) gives the current range of lionfish through November 2010. In summary:
Atlantic Coast of USA: Lionfishes have been established from Miami to North Carolina since 2002. They established in the Florida Keys in 2009. Although present in Atlantic waters north of North Carolina, they are not likely to survive cold winter temperatures.
Gulf of Mexico: Other than the anomalous Treasure Island specimen (see Schofield 2010), the first confirmed specimens of lionfish taken from the Gulf of Mexico were in December 2009. Sightings of lionfishes are becoming common in the northern Gulf of Mexico, especially associated with artifical reefs (including oil/gas platforms).
Bermuda, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and Cayman Islands: Lionfishes were numerous in Bermuda by 2004 and established in the Bahamas by 2005, the Turks and Caicos by 2008 and the Cayman Islands by 2009.
Greater Antilles: Lionfishes are established off all islands in the Greater Antilles (Cuba , Jamaica , Hispañola [Haiti and the Dominican Republic; 2008] and Puerto Rico ).
Lesser Antilles: Lionfish presence has been confirmed throughout the leeward and windward islands. For more details, see Schofield (2010).
Caribbean coasts of Mexico, Central and South America: Lionfishes are established from Mexico through Venezuela (Mexico , Belize , Honduras , Nicaragua , Costa Rica , Panamá , Colombia , Venezuela ).
Mediterannean Sea: Pterois miles has been reported from the Mediterranean Sea in Israel (Golani and Sonin 1992), Lebanon (Bariche et al. 2013) and Turkey (Turan et al. 2014). The species is reported from popular press articles in Cyprus (Evripidou 2013). These fish are thought to have migrated into the Mediterranean sea via the Suez Canal (i.e., Lessepsian migration).
Additional maps and flyers:
Animated Distribution Map
Report a Lionfish Sighting and Medical Treatment Information (Printable PDF Flyer)
References: (click for full references)
Aguilar-Perera, A. and A. Tuz-Sulub. 2010. Non-native, invasive Red lionfish (Pterois volitans
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Albins, M. A. 2012. Effects of invasive Pacific red lionfish Pterois volitans versus a native predator on Bahamian coral-reef fish communities. Biological Invasions (Online First: http://www.springerlink.com/content/qrw171w1204h3l10/fulltext.pdf)
Albins, M. A. and M. A. Hixon. 2008. Invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans) reduce recruitment of Atlantic coral-reef fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 367: 233-238.
Albins, M. A. and M. A. Hixon. 2012. Worst case scenario: potential long-term effects of invasive predatory lionfish (Pterois volitans) on Atlantic and Caribbean coral-reef communities. Environmental Biology of Fishes (available via Online First: http://www.springerlink.com/content/7v254603n7883768/ )
Bariche, M., M. Torres and E. Azzurro. 2013. The presence of the invasive Lionfish Pterois miles in the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean Marine Science 14: 292-294.
Bernadsky, G. and D. Goulet. 1991. A natural predator of the lionfish, Pterois miles. Copeia 1991: 230-231.
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accessible here: http://www.incyprus.eu/cyprus-news/toxic-lionfish-makes-its-way-to-cyprus-waters/
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Guerrero, K. A. and A. Luis Franco. 2008. First Record for the Indo-Pacific red lionfish Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758) for the Dominican Republic. Aquatic Invasions 3: 255-256
Golani, D. and O. Sonin. 1992. New records of the Red Sea fishes Pterois miles (Scorpaenidae) and Pteragogus pelycus (Labridae) from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 39: 167-169.
Hamner, R. M., D. W. Freshwater and P. E. Whitfield. 2007. Mitochondiral cytochrome b analysis reveals two invasive species with strong founder effects in the western Atlantic. Journal of Fish Biology 71 (Sup B): 214-222.
Harmelin-Vivien, M. L. and C. Bouchon. 1976. Feeding behavior of some carnivorous fishes (Serranidae and Scorpaenidae) from Tuléar (Madagascar). Marine Biology 37: 329-340.
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Kochzius, M., R. Söller, M. A. Khalaf and D. Blohm. 2003. Molecular phylogeny of the lionfish genera Dendrochirus and Pterois (Scorpaenidae, Pteroinae) based on mictochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 28: 396-403.
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Maljkoviæ, A., T. E. Van Leeuwen and S. N. Cove. 2008. Predation on the invasive red lionfish, Pterois volitans (Pisces: Scorpaenidae), by native groupers in the Bahamas. Coral Reefs 27: 501.
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This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.