AskDefine | Define lionfish

Dictionary Definition

lionfish n : brightly striped fish of the tropical Pacific having elongated spiny fins [also: lionfishes (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any of the venomous fish of the Pterois or Scorpaenidae. family, notable for their long and separated spines


Extensive Definition

For the United State Navy Submarine, see USS Lionfish
A Lionfish is any of several species of venomous marine fish in the genera Pterois, Parapterois, Brachypterois, Ebosia or Dendrochirus, of the family Scorpaenidae. The lionfish is also known as the Turkey Fish or Dragon Fish. They are notable for their extremely long and separated spines, and have a generally striped appearance, red, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon, or white.

Native environment

The lionfish is native to the tropical Indo-Pacific region of the world, but various species can be found worldwide. Due to a recent introduction, the lionfish has recently been spotted in the warmer coral regions of the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Lionfish are an invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea regions. Successful breeding of the lionfish in captivity has not been reported.


The common lionfish generally reaches a size of 30-35cm. Smaller lionfish (e.g., the Fuzzy Dwarf) are typically the size of a tennis ball (not including fins). There are many types of lionfish that vary in size.


Lionfish have venomous spines that are deadly to their prey, but usually not to humans. If a human is envenomated, that person will experience severe pain and possible headaches and vomiting. A common treatment is soaking the afflicted area in hot water, as very few hospitals carry specific treatments. However, immediate emergency medical treatment is still advised, as some people may be more susceptible to the venom than others.


Lionfish are voracious predators. When hunting, they corner prey using their large fins and then use their quick reflexes to swallow the prey whole.

Lionfish in Popular Culture

In the first installment of The Naked Gun series of films, Ludwig introduces Drebin to his "Japanese Fighting Fish". No such fish exists - and the actual fish portrayed is a Lionfish. Interestingly, the Lionfish in the film bites Drebin, whereas the most obvious form of attack such a fish would issue on a predator is envenoming.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard kept a lionfish named Livingston in a spherical aquarium. Located in the corner of the ready room, next to the viewport, Livingston was aboard the Enterprise-D for the entire duration of the series.


lionfish in German: Feuerfische
lionfish in Persian: عقرب‌ماهی
lionfish in Hebrew: זהרון
lionfish in Indonesian: Lepu
lionfish in Japanese: ミノカサゴ
lionfish in Norwegian: Drakefisker
lionfish in Thai: ปลาสิงโต
lionfish in Polish: Skrzydlica
lionfish in Portuguese: Peixe-leão
lionfish in Finnish: Leijonakala
lionfish in Swedish: Drakfisk
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