Beautiful but deadly

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The Wildlife World Aquarium will not only feature exotic marine animals from all over the world but also educate visitors about the health of our oceans.

For example, one of the most elegant-looking and widely known among aquarium hobbyists the lionfish, also represents a serious threat to ocean ecosystems in the Caribbean where they are considered an invasive species. Due to human activities, these venomous fish, originally from the South Pacific Ocean, have proliferated and threaten to eliminate native Atlantic species of reef fish. It is another example of what can happen when an ecosystem's balance is upset by the introduction of a new species with few or zero natural enemies to keep its population in check.

Scientists don't yet know what the long-term effects of this exploding population of predators will have on Atlantic reef systems. One concern is the loss of herbivorous fish that normally keep the growth of algae in check. Thus, preventing the smothering of coral reefs (ScienceDaily.com).

Lionfish are distinguished by several long spines that can inject venom that is lethal to other fish. (The venom, while very painful, is rarely lethal for humans.)

In case you've not heard about the new Wildlife World Aquarium set to open in a few weeks, the 16-acre facility has three indoor exhibit buildings featuring sharks, stingrays, flamingos, crocs and more.

A log flume ride takes passengers around several primate islands and through a large aquarium tunnel filled with tropical Pacific reef fish. The project also includes a new zoo and aquarium entrance, two gift shops, paved parking, and the Tiburon Restaurant & Flamingo Lounge.

At opening, more than 150 new species will be added to the nearly 400 species already in the zoo and aquarium collection. The new animals will be spread over some 80 indoor and outdoor exhibits in a campus-like setting.

Look for more updates now through December, including the weekly arrival of more fish species from all over the world.