Lion Fish

Animal File

Coral reefs
Rocky reefs
Common Name:
Lion Fish
Scientific Name:
Size: Up to 38cm
South America
Pacific, Atlantic, Indian
Australia, Indonesia, Florida
Conservation Status
Deficient data

Lionfish have a distinctive reddish brown and white stripe/ band pattern covering their head and body with fanlike pectoral fins and fleshy tentacles above their eyes.

There are approximately eight different species of lionfish (also known as a tigerfish, turkeyfish, scorpionfish, dragonfish and butterfly cod) all of which possess highly venomous spines capable of being fatal to larger creatures.

Lionfish are found in rocky crevices and coral reefs where small prey is plentiful. This environment provides the perfect hiding place, enabling lionfish to feed on a variety of small fish and crustaceans, catching this prey by ambushing as it swims past.

During mating, the female lionfish will lay between 2,000 and 15,000 eggs into the water which are then externally fertilised by the male. The eggs float into the ocean, allowing them to develop as free-floating, planktoniclarvae. The eggs hatch in just two days and the tiny fry remain close to the water’s surface until they reach around 20mm when they swim down to the ocean bed and join the reef neighbourhood.

Red lionfish originated in the Indian Ocean, however it is believed that this species were first introduced into tropical Atlantic seas through release by private aquarium owners almost 30 years ago.  Lionfish have an extremely high reproductive rate, with no natural enemies in these waters and a wide appetite, they have thrived with a devastating effect on the native reef species.

Red lionfish and Dwarf lionfish are displayed at the Oceanarium.

Children under 3 yrs FREE!! See other tickets

The health of our aquarium family, which includes our visitors, staff and animals, is our top priority. In light of the most recent advice from Public Health England and the government, we will be temporarily closing the Oceanarium Bournemouth effective immediately, until further notice.

We apologise for any disappointment and inconvenience caused.

Please be assured that our dedicated keeper team will continue to provide the best care for our animals during the closure.

If you’ve booked tickets for any day during this closure, you can exchange them for any other date in 2020 or we can provide a refund. Please send your booking details to

We’ll keep you informed through our website and social media channels. Thank you for your patience and we really look forward to welcoming you back to the Oceanarium when we re-open. Stay safe everyone.