Two years ago, Andy made his first piece of lionfish art. Since then, he's created a few more. They seem to keep getting bigger and more elaborate. For example, the lionfish art featured in this post measures 50x50 inches. It's pretty fabulous when you see it in person. If there's a breeze in the room, such as one caused by a ceiling fan, its fins (tentacles? spines?) move in a way that it almost looks like it's swimming.
How much do you know about lionfish?
- They are found mostly in the Indo-Pacific.
- A typical adult measures almost 15 inches and weighs just over one pound.
- They possess venomous dorsal, pelvic, and anal spines that deliver toxin through an unpleasant puncture wound.
- Their venom can cause extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, breathing difficulties, convulsions, dizziness, redness on the affected area, headache, numbness, paresthesia (pins and needles), heartburn, diarrhea, and sweating. Rarely, such stings can cause temporary paralysis of the limbs, heart failure, and even death. Fatalities are common in very young children, the elderly, those with a weak immune system, or those who are allergic to their venom. (How to avoid being stung and what to do when you are stung.)
- They prey mostly on small fish, invertebrates, and mollusks in large amounts.
- They were first reported off Florida's Atlantic Coast near Dania Beach in 1985. Today, the red lionfish is found off the East Coast of the United States and the Caribbean Sea. Apparently, they're also found in Destin. Before you panic... we've been swimming in Destin waters since the mid-1980s and have never encountered them.
- The population density of the invasive lionfish is increasing very fast, and efforts are underway in several areas to bring it under control. For example, check out the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition and the REEF Lionfish Derbies.
- Can you eat lionfish? Yes! Their white, buttery meat is delicious (or so I've been told - I haven't had an opportunity to taste it myself). Try these recipes or visit these restaurants.
The art featured in this post, Big Lionfish, is available for $2200.