One of the researchers from Oregon State, Kurt Ingeman, was astounded at the study's findings. It seems that the lionfish's overzealous appetites could mean disaster for their ecological surroundings. "Lionfish seem to be the ultimate invader. Almost every new thing we learn about them is some characteristic that makes them a more formidable predator. And it's now clear they will hunt successfully even when only a few fish are present. This behavior is unusual and alarming."
It is considered likely that the introduction of such an invasive species into the Caribbean was due to Hurricane Andrew hitting Florida in 1992. During the storm, six of the exotic fish were released into Biscayne Bay when the natural disaster smashed their waterfront enclosure. It is also likely, however, that the aquarium trade is to blame for the influx of lionfish off the east coast, with dissatisfied owners discarding their purchased exotic fish into the ocean.
There is some hope that the lionfish prey can perhaps adapt to the hunting techniques of such a formidable predator, but it is unclear as to whether or not such a change will occur. Says Ingeman, "We know that fish can learn and change their behavior, sometimes over just a few generations. But we don't have any studies yet to demonstrate this is taking place with native fish populations in the Atlantic."