The P. antennata is a very attractive fish marked in the typical striped lionfish pattern, with alternating red/brown and white vertical bands. The rays of its pectoral fins are connected with a membrane that encompasses about half the length of the rays, leaving the outer half of each ray free. The “webbed” area is marked with (typically) a single row of dark “eye spots” (ocellae), and the independent tips of the rays extend past the caudal peduncle. The base of the pectorals are marked with two dark, crescent-shaped bands near the fish’s body, and finally, what would an “antennae lion” be without a pair of long supraorbital appendages? This fish is frequently mistaken for P. mombassae, and vice-versa, and like most lionfish, P. antennata is not sexually dimorphic/dichromic. Our specimen took readily to stick feeding, and eats the “standard” scorp fare of fish, shrimp, squid, lobster, etc. we serve at “Chez Scorp”, although in the wild, this fish feeds primarily on crustaceans. To that end, picky eaters or new fish that are being conditioned should be offered live ghost shrimp, small crawfish, or fiddler crabs as first foods. P. antennata makes a great addition to a medium to large fish-only or reef display. A final word regarding tankmates: P. antennata has a rather large mouth, even by lionfish standards, so bear this in mind when choosing tankmates.
As they feed predominantly on crabs in the wild, train to frozen foods through the utilization of ghost shrimp, as swimming mid-column fish may be ignored.
These fish do have a record for being the more sensitive to water quality issues where most other lions tend to be “tougher” in this regard. They often succumb to bacterial infection which predominantly presents itself as cloudy eyes.
Fin nipping fish should not be a tankmate candidate for any lionfish, but this species with especially filamentous fins, it is a must to keep fin nippers out.