Abstract

The lionfish (P. volitans) has now invaded all the Mexican Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, with the potential to cause negative impacts on the reefs. In the South Mexican Caribbean was firstly reported in July 2009, and six years after this report, some control measures such as fish tournament and local marketing have been implemented. However, information on its biology and invasion is still-lacking, so this study analyzed the population structure of 2 164 organisms collected from 2009 to 2012. An increase was observed in sizes for each year averaging Total length (Tl): 118 ± 34.8, 133 ± 56.3, 187 ± 74.8 and 219 ± 72.4 mm, respectively. Lionfish establishment at the study site is shown for the presence of juveniles’ sizes 20 mm TL up to 375 mm TL. When the back-calculation was obtained, we estimated that the larger fish could have recruited in early 2006, three years before the first report was made. A continuous population monitoring and an ecological study, will allow us to clarify the real impact in the ecosystems of the region and so to propose the most effective control actions.

Keywords: Lionfish, invasive species, Mexican Caribbean, size structure.