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Nature Takes its Course

Discussion in 'Marine Life and Ecosystems' started by offthewall1, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. offthewall1

    offthewall1 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Baltimore, MD
    Something I learned on my most recent trip to the Bahamas is something I suspected all along. The fish of the Atlantic Reef systems adapt amazingly quick.

    I witnessed a large Queen Triggerfish chasing and eating a live juvenile Lionfish. So much for all the worry about Lionfish having no natural predators and this insidious hunt to exterminate them. We already knew that sharks would eat them as would large Groupers... but who knew Triggerfish were eating them before they could grow?

    I suspect this is a fairly recent adaptation for the voracious Triggerfish. I had not heard of this before... but after seeing it with my own eyes, I have no doubt that Lionfish have natural predators among Atlantic Reef Fish.

    Nature, especially in the sea, adapts itself to meet its needs. Perhaps for a short time, Lionfish were running amuck in the Atlantic, but I suspect it is in the process of finding it's place and it's numbers will adjust and adapt into the ecosystem as has happened with all other fish throughout time. In my opinion, humans need to stay out of the equation.

    I say if you like to eat Lionfish (and they are good eating,) hunt them like you would any other fish.. but don't malisciously go around killing them thinking you're helping out the ecosystem. You just might be taking a meal from a friendly Trigger or Grouper or Shark... or some other species we just don't know eats them yet.

  2. offthewall1

    offthewall1 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Baltimore, MD
    Here is a photo my wife took of the Trigger with the Lionfish in it's mouth just before it finished it off... not a great pic... but you can see it... Riding Rock Michelle 1 076.jpg
    JamesK, Mike, Seaduced and 2 others like this.
  3. ajtoady

    ajtoady ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hammond, NY
    It's amazing how fish adapt. In the St Lawrence and Great Lakes the introduction of the goby was a definite negative impact. However a few years later the predators, bass, pike, walleyes, muskies, perch, etc. realized hey we can eat them and from my observations are starting to reduce their numbers. I just hope that the Asian carp never make it to the Great Lakes. Seems we have some either very stupid or uninformed people controlling the Mississippi and Ohio River basin. However the people controlling the St Law. Seaway are not toobright either. Ships from overseas need to be sterilized or cleaned before entering our waters.:coffee:

    This is however my opinion and if it offends, Tough, get over it!
    rhwestfall, ScubaSteve and RTee like this.
  4. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
    That's the first report I have noticed of any native fishes attacking a live lion. :thumb: Hope it catches on.

    I don't think hunters killing the big ones is going disrupt their learning process. There'll still be plenty around for them to graze on.
    Mike likes this.
  5. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    The logic of that doesn't work well.

    First off, divers culling large numbers of lionfish on reefs accessible for recreational divers provide dead lionfish for potential predators to 'sample,' reduce lionfish numbers on those sites giving prey species more time to adapt to the lionfish threat, and the idea that if we kill lionfish we might prevent predators from being able to find one (otherwise how would we be costing them a meal?)... (Wow, we should be so lucky!!!). If that's a concern, just leave the ones you kill lying around. The predators won't mind the assist.

    I don't see where you've made any case against deliberate culling by divers ('maliciously' or not), especially based on one anecdotal account of a triggerfish eating a small one.

    Mike, ed.hamilton1 and divingsiren like this.
  6. deeper thoughts

    deeper thoughts Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Everything adapts! That being said, here on the reefs(SPA) in the Keys the divers have done a good job of reducing the lionfish. That being said go outside the sanctuary and a little deeper and it seems to have made no difference whatsoever. My 2 cents
  7. NWGratefulDiver

    NWGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Pugetropolis
    Everything adapts ... that's just how the world works. It was built with self-correcting mechanisms to maintain a balance.

    But adaptation is inherently slow ... it sometimes takes millenia for corrections to achieve a new balance ... and human-induced changes occur on a much quicker time-frame than that. And let's be honest, were it not for human actions, these fish wouldn't be where they're not supposed to be in the first place.

    Furthermore, we have no idea what side-effects this or any other adaptation will incur ... but I guarantee you there will be some. They may or may not be conducive to human interests.

    Let's not be too quick to say "problem solved" ... the planet doesn't particularly care whether its adaptations serve our interests or not ... and if we're not more careful, we may someday find ourselves without reefs to dive on ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
  8. scubafanatic

    scubafanatic Great White

    I see no downside to letting scuba divers kill every single lionfish in the Western Hemisphere, where they don't 'belong' in the 1st place, moreover scuba divers will have almost zero impact on their populations anyway other than inside a few shallow, well-dove sites, where perhaps native species can be preserved intact and survive long enough to learn to eat lionfish and turn the tide against the alien invaders (lionfish). We'd be better served taking measures to preserve apex predators (sharks / groupers) as they are the only realistic hope of really turning the tide.
    divingsiren, PansSiren and Bigd2722 like this.
  9. grantwiscour

    grantwiscour Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Dallas, Texas, United States
    Thanks for sharing the info and the pic. That's important info for all of us.
  10. RonFrank

    RonFrank Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Conifer, CO
    We are a large problem so doing the best we can to reduce a menace fish we introduced is not stoopid! I saw a video of a Scorpion fish eating a Lionfish on the web. This is not the video but rather what a scorpion fish looks like.


    This looked to be a mature Lionfish as it looked almost a big as the Scorpion fish.

    I agree, shark fining may be a bigger issue, but bringing awareness to these issues and talking about them never hurts. Lionfish are tasty! Hope it catches on....

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