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Lion fish specimens found in cuban coastal waters

The specimens are 11 and 17 centimeters long. They originally come from the Indian and the Pacific Oceans, that's why the presence of this foreign species off the Cuban coasts constitutes a real find.

Both specimens are currently being kept in a fish tank to study their wild life and their impact on the sea ecosystem of North America's Atlantic coast, said specialists from the Ministry of Sciences Technology and Environment (CITMA).

This species inhabits in the coral reefs of tropical waters where it is one of the dominant predators. Some lion fish can reach 18 inches long and they use a poison produced by glands in the base of their dorsal fins to defend themselves from their enemies.

The sting of a lion fish is very painful and dangerous for the aggressors, including human beings. Since 2000 several lion fish specimens have been reported along the southeast coast of the United States, from the state of Florida to North Caroline.

Their presence has also been confirmed in the waters of Long Island, in New Cork, the Bermudas and Puerto Rico. The presence of lion fish specimens in Cuban water had not been previously reported.

The accidental or intentional release of lion fish specimens in Atlantic waters by amateur aquarists is one of the most likely theories for the introduction of that invasive species into the area.

The Gulf Current could have carried the eggs and larvae to the north which made possible their settlement on the east coast of the United States.

As soon as the study of the two specimens is completed, they will be placed in exhibition for the visitors to the National Aquarium in Havana.

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