Publication Date

Spring 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Steve Huskey (Director), Dr. Michael Smith, and Dr. Phil Lienesch

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Invasive species, such as the red lionfish, Pterois volitans, are damaging many ecosystems around the world by out-competing native species. However, little work has been done to determine if P. volitans have a direct influence on the feeding performance of native species with which they compete. This study examines the feeding performance in terms of suction pressure, kinematic timing, and excursion distances of spotted scorpionfish, Scorpaena plumieri. Through multiple trials it was examined how S. plumieri modulate their kinematic behavior in response to P. volitans and a conspecific. The creation of a smaller buccal cavity and a decrease in time of buccal expansion may allow individuals to create greater sub-ambient pressures to increase their prey-capture success. High-speed cinematography and pressure transducers were used to determine if S. plumieri modulate feeding performance in the presence of either P. volitans or a conspecific. The results of the study suggest that S. plumieri do not create larger subambient pressures or modulate their feeding kinematics in the presence of P. volitans or a conspecific.


Behavior and Ethology | Marine Biology | Physiology