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 ). One specimen was captured in southern Brazil in 2014 (Ferreira et al. 2015). It is unclear whether the species is established in Brazil at this time (2016).
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). Kletou et al. (2016) reported that lionfish had recently increased in abundance and colonised almost the entire south eastern coast of Cyprus. 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)
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Kletou, D., J. M. Hall-Spencer and P. Kleitou. 2016. A lionfish (Pterois miles) has begun in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biodiversity Records 9:46 DOI: 10.1186/s41200-016-0065-y.
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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.