Potential effects of invasive Pterois volitans in coral reefs

  • Banamali Maji Department of Mathematics, University of Kalyani, Kalyani, India
  • Joydeb Bhattacharyya Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
  • Samares Pal Department of Mathematics, University of Kalyani, Kalyani, India http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8792-0031
Keywords: Stage-structured cannibalism, invasiveness, harvesting, Hopf bifurcation


The invasion of predatory lionfish (Pterois volitans) represents a major threat to the western Atlantic coral reef ecosystems. The proliferation of venomous, fast reproducing and aggressive P. volitans in coral reefs causes severe declines in the abundance and diversity of reef herbivores. There is also widespread cannibalism amongst P. volitans populations. A mathematical model is proposed to study the effects of predation on the biomass of herbivorous reef fishes by considering two life stages and intraguild predation of P. volitans population with harvesting of adult P. volitans. The system undergoes a supercritical Hopf bifurcation when the invasiveness of P. volitans crosses a certain critical value. It is observed that cannibalism of P. volitans induces stability in the system even with high invasiveness of adult P. volitans. The dynamic instability of the system due to higher invasiveness of P. volitans can be controlled by increasing the rate of harvesting of P. volitans. It is also proven that P. volitans goes extinct when the harvest rate is greater than some critical threshold value. These results indicate that the dynamical behaviour of the model is very sensitive to the harvesting of P. volitans, which in turn is useful in the conservation of reef herbivores.

How to Cite
Maji, Banamali, Joydeb Bhattacharyya, and Samares Pal. 2016. “ Potential Effects of Invasive Pterois Volitans in Coral Reefs”. Letters in Biomathematics 3 (1), 119–139. https://doi.org/10.1080/23737867.2016.1213146.