This article cites evidence of a severe genetic bottleneck, suggesting that perhaps no more than three pregnant females launched the expanding western Atlantic red lionfish population. How can there be “pregnant females” in an animal with the external fertilization described in the article? Do you mean a founder population of as few as three individuals? Please clarify.

Lynn Lozier
Fairfax, Calif.

Three females, which release their eggs, could be the maternal ancestors of the red lionfish now breeding in the west Atlantic. There would also have had to be at least one fertilizing male present in that ancestral brood stock. —J. Raloff I just wanted to report catching a 1 1/2-inch lionfish behind Strathmere near Corson Inlet off New Jersey. I have been catching fish for my aquariums since 1961, and this is my first-ever lionfish. I read about some being caught near Long Island and Rhode Island and many living off the Carolinas. I thought I might capture one some day in the future but was much surprised to see this one in my trap.

Bob Seabrook
Absecon, N.J.