Lionfish Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

A lionfish is a kind of poisonous fish that lives in warm ocean water. In this lesson you will learn about lionfish, where they live, what they eat and some cool facts about these fish.

What Is a Lionfish?

Imagine you are swimming in beautiful, warm blue ocean water. There are many fish darting all around, but one really stands out! It has stripes running up and down its body and several razor-sharp, pointy fins that spread out like a fan all around it. You float closer to get a better look, but something tells you that you probably shouldn't touch, which is smart on your part. That is a lionfish!

A lionfish is a venomous fish that has a brownish-red and white-striped body and sharp, spiny fins. The venom is a poisonous liquid that comes out from a lionfish's spines. Although it is venomous, the lionfish only uses its poisonous fins to protect itself from enemies. In fact, the poison can kill larger fish that try to eat it.

Lionfish with Venomous Spiny Fins
Lionfish with Venomous Spiny Fins

They are usually between 12 and 15 inches long and can weigh over two and a half pounds.

Lionfish are cranky, but they don't go after people. Painful stings still do happen by accident, however. Although they hurt a lot, and you would need a doctor right away, they aren't usually deadly to humans.

Where Do Lionfish Live?

In the wild, they were originally found only in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans. They have now spread to warm oceans all over the world. Some people also keep them in aquariums as pets.

Lionfish in an Aquarium
Lionfish in an Aquarium

Because lionfish are now in ocean waters where they don't belong, the number of lionfish has grown very fast. There aren't many fish in their new neighborhoods that want to chow down on a poisonous fish, so the number of lionfish keeps getting bigger.

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