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Lionfish

The Lionfish is a dramatic-looking fish with bold red-brown or orange stripes alternating with a cream color and long, ornate spiny fins that deliver a venomous sting and also serve as camouflage when the Lionfish is lying in wait for prey. Also known as Turkeyfish or Zebrafish, Lionfish are aggressive predators and can strike very quickly to devour any small fish or crustacean they come across. They can reach 15 inches in length when fully grown and are very territorial, lunging forward with poisonous spikes erect when threatened. This makes them hazardous to divers and snorkelers, so Lionfish should only be observed from a distance. Lionfish are native to Indo-Pacific waters and are a highly problematic invasive species in the Caribbean. There is a large population of Lionfish around Key West, and experienced spear fishermen who are prepared to handle the fish safely are encouraged to kill as many as possible.

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