Invasive 'terminator' fish's hunting habits worry scientists

By Mila Whiteley,

Scientists are nicknaming the red lionfish the Terminator fish and it is not because they bare any resemblance to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The species, which is not native to the Atlantic Ocean, is slowly hunting its prey to extinction.

Normally, predatory fish in the Atlantic Ocean are attracted to areas where their preys' population is high, because it requires little effort to capture them. However, when the prey population is reduced, native predators will move onto other populations where the prey is more bountiful.

The red lion fish does not follow this pattern. At the Ecological Society of America’s annual meeting, scientists revealed that red lionfish tend to hunt their prey into extinction, reports the Brantford Expositor. The fish, which is native to the Pacific Ocean, will continue to return to one prey pool until the population is completely destroyed.

The presence of lion fish in the Atlantic Ocean can be traced back to the 1980s, according to (E) Science News and their population now covers a territory of ocean larger than the U.S.

"Lionfish seem to be the ultimate invader," Kurt Ingeman, a doctoral candidate within Oregon State University College of Science, said. "Almost every new thing we learn about them is some characteristic that makes them a more formidable predator. And it's now clear they will hunt successfully even when only a few fish are present. This behavior is unusual and alarming."



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