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Studies Show Lionfish Can Live in Low Salinities

A recent study published by the Florida Institute of Technology indicates that lionfish can live in very low salinities.  The study was result of finding lionfish in the Loxahatchee River and a science fair project conducted by Lauren Arrington.  The study indicated that lionfish could survival at salinities as low as 7 parts per thousand for over 28 days and at salinities as low 4 ppt for 24 hours.

The Red Lionfish; photo by John Stevely

The Red Lionfish; photo by John Stevely

These findings are significant in that scientists were curious how far inland the lionfish invasion could reach.  Salinities in the Gulf of Mexico are usually around 35 ppt.  In Santa Rosa Sound they typically run between 25 and 30 ppt and between 20 – 25 ppt for Pensacola Bay.  Salinities in Bayou Texar range from 3 – 27 ppt.  This study indicates that lionfish could tolerate the salinities in any of these bodies of water.  The study also looked at rate of salinity change, simulating the change that occurs during tides.  The rate of change did not seem to stress the lionfish tested.

We encourage anyone who is diving or snorkeling in the inshore waters for Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound to report lionfish sightings to either Robert Turpin (850-554-5869) or Rick O’Connor (850-475-5230 – roc1@ufl.edu ).  We will be posting Lionfish Updates during the months of July and August at our website: http://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu .  If you have any questions about lionfish or would like a presentation on the situation with this fish contact Rick.

Permanent link to this article: http://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/blog/2014/06/23/studies-show-lionfish-can-live-in-low-salinities/