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Rodríguez-Cortés K.D., Aguilar-Perera A., Bonilla-Gómez J.L. 2015. Growth and mortality of red lionfish, Pterois volitans (Actinopterygii: Scorpaeniformes: Scorpaenidae), in the Parque Nacional Arrecife Alacranes, southern Gulf of Mexico, as determined by size-frequency analysis. Acta Ichthyol. Piscat.  45 (2): 175–179.

Background. Biological invasions represent a threat to the ecological stability of the ecosystem. Two lionfish species, the red lionfish and the devil firefish—both tropical marine predators native to the Indo–Pacific—were introduced to the Atlantic Ocean. However, only one—the red lionfish, Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758)—has reached the level of an invasive species so far. It is crucial to learn its biology and ecology to understand trends of its invasion and impacts on native fauna, and to determine ecological changes as the invasion progresses. This study reports the growth and mortality of P. volitans in coral reefs of the Parque Nacional Arrecife Alacranes, off the northern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, in Southern Gulf of Mexico.

Materials and methods. Lobster diver fishers participated in voluntary captures of lionfish during the lobster fishing seasons of 2010–2012. In the laboratory, lionfish were taxonomically identified, measured, and weighed. Their length–weight relation was determined according to the commonly used equation: W = aTLb. Fish total lengths were used to calculate the parameters of the von Bertalanffy growth function (VBGF) of lionfish based on the size-frequency analysis routine ELEFAN in the FiSAT II software.

Results. A total of 776 lionfish (9.0 to 38.9 cm in total length, 7 to 874 g in total wet weight) were collected. The VBGF parameters estimated were L = 42 cm, K = 0.88–1, t0 = –0.107 years. The total mortality instantaneous rate (Z) calculated by the total length converted catch curve was 2.06 year–1.

Conclusion. This study provides first calculation of growth parameters and mortality of P. volitans in Southern Gulf of Mexico as determined by size-frequency analysis.  Results contribute to the knowledge on the biology of P. volitans and to a better understanding of aspects of its biological invasion in the region.

Keywords: Alacranes Reef, Yucatan Peninsula, , invasive species, marine fish, von Bertalanffy

 

 

DOI: 10.3750/AIP2015.45.2.07

© 2005 The West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin | Last modification:  2017-04-25