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Lion fish, Pteropterus radiatus, in the Red Sea

Lion fish, Pteropterus radiatus, in the Red Sea

Z605/0135

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Credit

GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

A lion fish, Pteropterus radiatus, among coral in the Red Sea. This is one of the zebrafishes. They are some of the most colourful fish among coral reef inhabitants. And are quite poisonous. Their large fan-like pectoral fins (situated on each side behind the head) function as a net to drive prey into the corners of cliffs and reefs, where they may be eaten. The dorsal fin spines are elongated and contain a group of glandular cells at their base, which produce a strong poison. The poison is stored in the surrounding skin and sent into a wound through the spines. Thus, unlike some other poisonous fish, lion fish use their poison for prey-capture as well as defence.

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