Zebra Lionfish, Dendrochirus zebra Click to enlarge image
A Zebra Lionfish at a depth of 12 m, Pumpkin Patch, Bootless Bay, Papua New Guinea, 2 Oct 2010. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    zebra
    Genus
    Dendrochirus
    Family
    Scorpaenidae
    Order
    Scorpaeniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Zebra Lionfish looks similar to the Dwarf Lionfish. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the presence of spotted bands crossing the pectoral fins of the Dwarf Lionfish.

Introduction

The Zebra Lionfish's striking colouration is a "warning" to potential predators that the species has poisonous dorsal fin spines. The species is widely distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific.

Identification

The Zebra Lionfish can be distinguished by a combination of characters including its long pectoral and dorsal fins, its colouration, the number of scales in the lateral lineand the number of pectoral fin rays. The striking colouration is a "warning" to potential predators that this species has poisonous dorsal fin spines.



Distribution

The Zebra Lionfish is widely distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific. In Australia it is found from Shark Bay, Western Australia, around the tropical north, and south to Sydney, New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Danger to humans

The species has poisonous dorsal fin spines.

References

  1. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.