A Pleasant Find for this Particular Ocean

by Gareth Williams, member of the Benthic Team

Seeing eye-to-eye with a spotfin lionfish as it lurks beneath a ledge. Photograph by Gareth J. Williams.

Lionfish are a hot topic in coral reef conservation at present. They are an invasive predatory species in the Caribbean and are devastating fish populations on the reefs. However, in the Pacific they are native and a lucky find for a diver during the day. As we searched for cryptic species hiding among the coral heads this morning at Washington Island we came across a spotfin lionfish (Pterois antennata) resting upside down and motionless under a ledge. After much twisting and turning I managed to get my camera far enough into the reef crevice to capture a close-up image of this elusive predator. Their camouflage is truly spectacular.