Lionfish on a reef
Lionfish (Pterois volitans) hunting smaller fish on a coral reef. The lionfish is a predator, often hunting in groups. It uses its widespread fins to force prey, mostly smaller fish, into a crevice in coral or rocks, before sucking it into its mouth with a huge gulp. The spines in the fins contain a potent toxin, which deter predators and can deliver a very painful sting. The lionfish inhabits reefs in the tropical Indo-Pacific region, and in recent years has been sighted in the Caribbean, probably due to escapees from aquaria. It can reach about 38 centimetres in length. Photographed in the Egyptian Red Sea.
© GEORGETTE DOUWMA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY