Fish Life

Lionfish Duel

They often look as if they’re spoiling for a fight, but on this occasion a battle royal took place – witnessed by Richard Carey

THE LIONFISH IS A VERY COMMON SPECIES, and every diver who visits the Red Sea will be familiar with it, and able to identify it. Most divers know the basics about lionfish, too. They are voracious predators, hunt mainly at night, and the venomous spines on their fins discourage novice divers from getting too close and flapping their hands about.

This January, however, I was lucky enough to witness a couple of these fish engaged in some more unusual behaviour.

It was mid-morning, on a clear sunny day, when lionfish are normally resting on the reef or under overhangs after a night of hunting. Two were apparently locked together, cheek to cheek, fins erected in a defensive posture.

They pushed against each other, spinning and tumbling through the water. Even when they collided with the reef, this did not deter them. Read more.

Appeared in DIVER April 2009


Similan Islands • Red Sea