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lionfish critterLatin name: Pterois volitansSize:  Twelve to fifteen inches longTexas Habitat: The Gulf CoastAs the majestic lionfish glides through the ocean, its eighteen spines ripple like silk scarves in a breeze. This flashiest of fishes, with its eye-catching brown or reddish and white stripes, trolls the Gulf as a top predator, just as its namesake big cat rules the savanna. Its gorgeous fins fan out around its body the way a mane frames a lion’s face. The sea creature’s beauty belies its brutality: get too close, and the spines that appear soft and silky reveal themselves as deadly weapons, injecting venom that immobilizes prey and would-be predators and leaves humans writhing in pain. Lionfish also reproduce with shocking speed, releasing 30,000 eggs every three days. This is one…

The post Why the Lionfish Is the Feral Hog of the Sea appeared first on Texas Monthly.

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