Fun Lionfish Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Lionfish Facts For Kids

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

It's the porcupine of the seas, isn’t it? The Pterois is a poisonous fish, popularly known as the lionfish, firefish, butterfly-cod, tastyfish, turkeyfish, and even zebrafish. So many names for one little marine animal!

This beautiful fish has 12 species under it, the red lionfish being the most popular one of them. The dwarf lionfish shares the same family. A vibrancy of colors is what you see once you spot this beautiful fish. Usually, these fishes are in shades of white, black, red, and cream. Unfortunately, these fish are now being termed as an ‘invasive species’. These fish are so invasive, that there are campaigns to hunt them down and feed on the lionfish. These fish have 18 venomous spines, which help them attack their predators as well as help lure their food toward them. The lionfishes usually survive in shallow water bodies, inhabiting between 100-500 m depth in the waters. Looking at these fish, you must have realized that not all lions roar.

If you enjoyed this article on the lionfish, you will have an amazing time reading our pages on the wolffish and the walleye fish.

Fun Lionfish Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Fishes, crustaceans, lionfish

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

1-2 lb (0.45-0.9 kg)

How long are they?

Up to 18.5 in (47 cm)

How tall are they?

2-5 in (5-12.7 cm)

What do they look like?

White, black, brown, red stripes, long spines

Skin Type

Scales, Spines

What were their main threats?

Humans, Larger Fish, Lionfish, Eels

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Salty Water Bodies


Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Waters









Lionfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Lionfish?

The lionfish is a type of marine fish.

What class of animal do a Lionfish belong to?

The lionfish comes under the class Actinopterygii. There are 12 different species of lionfish.

How many Lionfish are there in the world?

Though there is no exact number recorded for the lionfish population, the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has estimated about 1,000 fish of this species live per acre underwater.

Where does a Lionfish live?

They are found in oceans, seas, and rivers - almost all salty water bodies. The lionfish habitats usually have pH levels ranging between 8.1-8.4.

What is a Lionfish's habitat?

This venomous species is found mainly in the Indo-Pacific waters.

They can be spotted in shallow reefs, lagoons, rocky substrates, inshore areas, harbors, and many more places. They are flexible to the temperature of the water, its depths, and even its salinity.

Tropical coastal waters stretching between China and Australia have proven to be a rich habitat for these fishes. Indo-Pacific waters are where you will find the maximum density, stretching from the sushi land, Japan, to Madagascar.

Who do Lionfish live with?

The invasive lionfish prefer a solitary lifestyle and come together with the other fish only during the breeding season.

How long does a Lionfish live?

This reef species can live up to 15 years.

How do they reproduce?

Usually, these fish follow polygyny when it comes to breeding. One adult male often breeds with multiple female fishes. The female fish releases two large masses of eggs. These masses are fertilized by the male fish before it floats up to the surface. Within these sacks, the little embryos secrete a sticky mucus that helps them attach to corals or rocks and stay in one place until they hatch. A female fish can lay about 30,000 eggs in each breeding season.

These hatched eggs become mature in just a few months after their birth. These fish reproduce many times throughout the year, thus making them one of the invasive species.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the invasive lionfish is of ‘Least Concern’.

Lionfish Fun Facts

What do Lionfish look like?

Close-up of a lionfish.

Lionfish are a good example of why everything colorful is not good. Upon seeing a lionfish for the first time, you can see its radiant body with multiple colors flashing out. The red lionfish have mainly white stripes on their bodies with brown, maroon, or red stripes alternating between them. This striped pattern has given them the name ‘zebrafish’. Each species sports a varied pattern for the bold stripes they own proudly.

A proud member of the Scorpaenidae family, these venomous fishes have large spines popping out from their bodies, resembling a lion's mane, thus giving this species the name ‘lionfish’. These spines pop out from the top, rear as well sides of their bodies. They are noted for their long dorsal fin and enlarged pectoral fins, pretty much giving them a spiky appearance like a porcupine!

These 18 spines are infused with venom, becoming an excellent protection mechanism for this species. The juveniles have a long tentacle near their eyes. This long antenna then develops into feathery, flexible pectoral fins popping out from their foreheads to lure little fish and their prey closer. This attractive body makes them a popular choice for aquariums. The larvae of lionfish have large heads, big triangular snouts, long spines on the head, a big pelvic spine, and online mild colors on their pelvic fins.

How cute are they?

With a vibrant spiky body, this species is an absolute stunner, though we are not sure we would describe it as cute.

How do they communicate?

Unfortunately, there is no available information on their means of communication. However, if these fish sense the slightest threat, they spread open their fins as a warning. If they still feel the fear lurking from any possible predators, they do not think twice and attack directly with their venomous dorsal spines.

How big is a Lionfish?

The adult red lionfish is about 18.5 in (47 cm) long, whereas the younger ones of this species are smaller than 1 in (2.5 cm).

This fish is as big as a baby rabbit.

How fast can a Lionfish swim?

Unfortunately, we do not know about the Lionfish's speed, but these fishes do not swim quite fast.

How much does a Lionfish weigh?

The lionfish weighs only about 1-2 lb (0.45-0.9 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for the female and male lionfish.

What would you call a baby Lionfish?

The lionfish babies are called 'frys'.

What do they eat?

These invasive species prey on almost all types of marine animals. The lionfish diet mainly consists of mollusks, small fish, and even invertebrates. They love taking down their prey with an ambush. However, if food is scarce, they would not think twice about eating their kind as well.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, these fish are dangerous as the lionfish sting is extremely venomous. Swimming in deep waters where there is a possibility of the presence of this fish is strictly not recommended. Effects from this venom may vary between humans, with some having normal pain at the point of sting, dizziness, and heartburn, while others may have digestive issues and respiratory problems. This venom has caused lethal reactions in children who have come in contact with it. Even people with allergies have had a lot of trouble after coming in contact with this venom.

Would they make a good pet?

Handling these spiky fishes is a lot of trouble, as they have venomous spines. Thus, we would not recommend these fish as good pets! Nonetheless, these fish are found in many home aquariums.

Did you know...

Lionfish are active mainly during the daytime.

These fish are not friendly towards humans.

Consuming their venom can cause serious health-related issues.

The scientific name of lionfish, Pterois, comes from the Greek term ‘pteron’, which translates to ‘wings’ or ‘feathers’. This might be about the appearance of the fish, with its spines and fins resembling feathers.

Some lionfish species can propel the currents of the water toward their possible prey, which would confuse the fish and prevent any adjustments to their swim routes to escape.

Some females of this species are capable of laying more than 2 million eggs in just one year.

Do people eat Lionfish?

This may surprise you, but eating this invasive lionfish is encouraged throughout America, as a measure of controlling its population. The NOAA has even launched a campaign which goes by the name 'Lionfish as Food', that encourages humans to hunt this fish. A little extra care needs to be taken by the fishermen while dealing with their stingy spines, as they are venomous. However, this venom has absolutely no impact on the deliciousness or the safety of the fish meat, provided it has been prepared properly. The meat of this fish is tasty, with its flavor being mild and buttery with a tender, moist texture. The fish has been declared suitable for normal eating. The taste of lionfish is said to be similar to that of shrimps and lobsters. The main pointers to be kept in mind while preparing and eating the fish are to pluck out the spines carefully, as well as heat the meat and cook it well to nullify any toxic and venomous effects of the fish. Popular ways to cook this fish include sashimi, deep-frying, grilling as well as jerky.

Why are Lionfish called an invasive species?

These fish have been termed ‘invasive’ for a few years. They pose a great threat throughout the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Mediterranean Sea. Though their main breeding waters are around the Indo-Pacific region, there have been reports from ecologists and divers who spotted these colorful fish off the United States coastline back in the 1990s.

There have been claims that these fish, who were brought as aquarium fancies to the United States, were purposely kept behind in the waters of South Florida, leading to its invasion of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The Miles’ firefish, another species of the lionfish, was earlier concentrated only in the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean as well as the Red Sea. However, in the year 2016, this fish was spotted in the waters of Southern Cyprus. It is thought that these venomous fish swam through the Suez Canal.

Considering the large number of eggs laid at a time, the rapid breeding rates as well as their strong defense, their population has massively increased. Though this increase in numbers does not pose any threat to their species as a whole, the presence of these fish in large numbers has been leading to a decline of other marine life, causing many fish to become endangered near the Atlantic Ocean. It has been invading foreign waters causing ecological disturbances.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including the loach and the Atlantic cod.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our lionfish coloring pages.

Written By
Kidadl Team

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?