Grouper & Lionfish

On the relationship between native grouper and invasive lionfish in the Caribbean

Author and article information

1                      School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld, Australia
2                      Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, USA
3                      Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Subject Areas
Ecology, Marine Biology
invasive, alien species, coral reef
© 2013 Mumby et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.        
Cite this article
Mumby et al. (2013) On the relationship between native grouper and invasive lionfish in the Caribbean. PeerJ PrePrints 1:e45v1


The Indo-Pacific lionfish, Pterois volitans, has invaded most of the Tropical Western Atlantic in the last few years. The degree to which populations of this invasive species can be controlled by native predatory fish (mostly grouper), is controversial with conflicting reports. Here, we review the evidence of two recent papers and point out some of the difficulties in inferring predator-limitation purely from observational data. A negative relationship has been found between large-bodied grouper and lionfish during early colonisation though the degree to which this is caused by direct predation versus behavioural mechanisms is unclear. Evidence to the contrary from a recent study suffers confounding effects of habitat quality, fishing, and dispersal and therefore remains equivocal.