Recently, Pterois volitans, a Pacific species of lionfish, invaded the Atlantic Ocean, likely via the aquarium trade. We examined for internal and external parasites 188 individuals from 8 municipalities of Puerto Rico collected during 2009–2012, 91 individuals from Little Cayman, Cayman Islands, collected during the summers of 2010 and 2011, and 47 individuals from Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas, collected during the summer of 2009. In total, 27 parasite taxa were found, including 3 previously reported species from lionfish, the digenean Lecithochirium floridense, the leech Trachelobdella lubrica, and an Excorallana sp. isopod. We also report another 24 previously unreported parasite taxa from lionfish, including digeneans, monogeneans, cestodes, nematodes, isopods, a copepod, and an acanthocephalan. Among these parasites, several were previously unreported at their respective geographic origins: We report 5 new locality records from Puerto Rico, 9 from Cayman Islands, 5 from the Bahamas, 5 from the Caribbean, and 3 from the subtropical western Atlantic region. Three parasites are reported to associate with a fish host for the first time. The parasite faunas of P. volitans among our 3 study sites were quite different; most of the species infecting lionfish were generalists and/or species that infect carnivorous fishes. Although our study did not assess the impact of parasites on the fitness of invasive lionfish, it provides an important early step. Our results provide valuable comparative data for future studies at these and other sites throughout the lionfish′s invaded range.
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Vol. 101 • No. 1