Title

Catch Them if You Can: Assessment of Invasive Lionfish (Pterois volitans) Behavior on Little Cayman, Cayman Islands, to Aid Control Efforts

Abstract

Control of the invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) is a high priority throughout the Caribbean to aid in the protection of coral reefs against the effects of increased predation. Due to few predators, competitors, parasites or disease, culling programs have been the primary means of removal and management. Concerns have been raised that increased culling pressure selects for more cryptic, wary individuals, making spearing increasingly difficult. To assess this concern, over the summer of 2016 400 lionfish were surveyed on coral reefs around Little Cayman, an island in the Caribbean south of Cuba. Preliminary analysis revealed an increase in wary behavior of lionfish at culled sites during the day. Interestingly, regular culls on Little Cayman have not affected the behavior of lionfish at dusk. This study found that evening culls provide greater accessibility to the lionfish population and should be employed whenever possible for enhanced spearing efficiency.

Faculty Sponsor

Amy Molitor, Paul Yancey

Tracks

Secrets of the Deep I

Terms of Use

ARMINDA Terms of Use

Location

Science 100

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Research Funding Source or OCS Program

National Science Foundation, Central Caribbean Marine Institute

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Catch Them if You Can: Assessment of Invasive Lionfish (Pterois volitans) Behavior on Little Cayman, Cayman Islands, to Aid Control Efforts

Science 100

Control of the invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) is a high priority throughout the Caribbean to aid in the protection of coral reefs against the effects of increased predation. Due to few predators, competitors, parasites or disease, culling programs have been the primary means of removal and management. Concerns have been raised that increased culling pressure selects for more cryptic, wary individuals, making spearing increasingly difficult. To assess this concern, over the summer of 2016 400 lionfish were surveyed on coral reefs around Little Cayman, an island in the Caribbean south of Cuba. Preliminary analysis revealed an increase in wary behavior of lionfish at culled sites during the day. Interestingly, regular culls on Little Cayman have not affected the behavior of lionfish at dusk. This study found that evening culls provide greater accessibility to the lionfish population and should be employed whenever possible for enhanced spearing efficiency.

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