A new study has shown that Pterois volitans Lionfish uses a unique tactic when stalking their prey… they use their cavernous mouths to blast a series of water jets at their quarry as they make their final approach to within striking distance.
Captured in this video footage, the behaviour is thought to serve a number of purposes. Firstly, due to the fact that the water jets seem to offset Lionfish’s tail thrusts, it is thought that they may ‘mask’ the predators approach by affecting the lateral line system of the target fish. Secondly, the blasts caused most of the prey to turn head-on to the approaching Lionfish, which helped it to swallow it’s prey in several ways.
The research is particularly interesting as it was observed more frequently in Lionfish native ranges (as opposed to in ‘invader’ populations). This suggests that prey in these native ranges are more likely to have adapted to Lionfish hunting techniques, and hints at why they are causing such devastation in areas where they have invaded.
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