Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:54 AM EDT

Lionfish Feasts On The New Species Of Goby Fish As Researchers Watch In Horror

Jun 07, 2017 07:07 PM EDT

A lionfish swims in a tank at Artisanal Foods on Feb. 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Photo : Ethan Miller/Getty Images) A lionfish swims in a tank at Artisanal Foods on Feb. 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Researchers watch in horror as the invasive Lionfish prey on a new species of goby fish found in Caribbean reefs. Marine biologists have just named the fish and have not started the thorough study.

Researchers from the University of Washington and Smithsonian Institution recently discovered this new species of goby fish in the "twilight zone," an area in the ocean which lies below the depths of SCUBA diving activity. The new species of goby fish is characterized by its bright orange stripe down its spine, and it also exhibits a different behavior than most goby fishes. The fish like to gather around in masses of 100 fishes, making it more susceptible to predators such as the lionfish.

The new species of goby fish is named "ember gobies", Palatogobius indendius and marine biologists have just began to understand the behavior of this little fish. Unfortunately, the lionfish, which invaded the corals in the U.S. East Coast to the Caribbean and threatened the ecosystem have begun to prey on the ember gobies. NOAA believes the upsurge of lionfish population began when people started to release their lionfish pet into the sea, increasing the number of this invasive predator.

Lionfish's activity to feast on this new species of goby fish was first recorded by a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution and the Fish Curator at the Burke Museum of Fish, Luke Tornabene. He and his colleague, a Research Zoologist at the Smithsonian Institution, Carole Baldwin have reported the finding in the PLOS One Journal.

"We are faced with the fact that they are permanent residents on Caribbean reefs," Tornabene said regarding the threat that new species of goby fish encounters from lionfish. "The hope is that the learning curve is quick and other fish realize lionfish are predators. Right now, studies have shown some prey species to be pretty naïve."

Tornabene has also taken the video of lionfish's hunting method to feast on the new species of goby fish. Watch the video of the ember gobies being chased by lionfish below:

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