Man Eating Lionfish
If this lionfish looks a little bummed out it's hard to blame him—he's about to be on your dinner plate. The lionfish, which is a highly predatory, highly poisonous species has become increasingly prevalent along the eastern seaboard, particularly in Florida waters, ever since Hurricane Andrew smashed a waterfront aquarium in 1992, allowing six of the fish to slip into the Biscayne Bay. Since then, the species' population has exploded, threatening local ecosystems by devouring smaller fish and starving out their natural predators. To combat the lionfish, hunts for them have been conducted under the aegis of the government—a few weeks ago 109 of the fish were caught by divers off the Lower Keys. But here's where this story gets really interesting. The lionfish, due to its venomous spines which pack a punch comparable to that of a powerful jellyfish sting, has almost no natural predators. Few animals want to risk a spine in the eye for a meal. Few animals that is, except for the most voracious predator of all—us. Lionfish has begun popping up on the menus of forward-thinking restaurants throughout the country. And with a flaky, white meat that some say is reminiscent of perennial-fan-favorite grouper, it's sure to keep showing up as long as the supply holds out. My next Google search? You guessed it: "lionfish restaurant nyc." I wonder if I can expense that meal?