Lionfish may be pretty, but they are a destructive invasive species that threatens to destabilize marine ecosystems in the Caribbean and American East Coast. That’s why when conservationists took this recent video of a grouper eating one of the fish in the wild, it’s exciting news. It’s believed that lionfish have thrived in the Atlantic Ocean because of a lack of native predators, but more and more evidence is showing that grouper and sharks are developing a taste for the spiny lionfish. Though increased predation may not stop the lionfish invasion entirely, it could help.

“This video is believed to be the first photo documentation of a grouper making an open water kill of an invasive lionfish without encouragement of any kind by a diver,” wrote Lionfish University, a group dedicated to promoting awareness about the species.

Lionfish generally ward off predators with venomous ray fins, but they are no match for an experienced hunter. In the video, the grouper appears to be probing for weaknesses in the lionfish’s defenses before finally striking and swallowing the fish whole. At that point, the fins would have been forced down by the grouper’s mouth.

Image screenshot of video by LionfishU on YouTube

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  • GTHYA

    That’s very cool. That fish has obviously done that before. Amazing it wasn’t bothered by the divers and cameras. A light at the end of that tunnel? It is encouraging. I wonder if the Goliaths do that? Maybe not if they can’t stun the lion fish with their giant mouth, in order for the fins to fold down. They may get stung trying to eat them whole with the fins flared out