spotfin lionfish

Spotfin Lionfish (Pterois antennata)

The large flamboyant fins of the lionfish serve as a warning to predators of its toxicity. Lionfish are skilled hunters, using specialized bilateral swim bladder muscles to provide exquisite control of location in the water column, allowing the fish to alter its center of gravity to better attack prey.

Nick Hobgood on Flickr

Broadbarred Lionfish (Pterois antennata)

The flamboyant colours and fins of the lionfish warn potential predators of their toxicity. The potency of their venom makes them excellent predators, as they are generally not attacked themselves.

In humans, the venom can cause systemic effects such as nausea, vomiting, breathing difficulties and extreme pain. In serious cases, it can cause heart failure, temporary paralysis of the limbs and sometimes death.

Nick Hobgood on Flickr