Cichla ocellaris (Cichlidae)  Cichlid

Female below.

DISTRIBUTION: Amazon, Orinoco, and La Plata basins in South America. Currently established in southern Florida.

HABITAT: Warm freshwater.

APPEARANCE: Elongate body with deeply notched dorsal fin, large mouth with projecting lower jaw. Color: olive-green fading ventrally to yellow-white, with three dark vertical bars on sides and series of dark spots in between. A large black spot encircled by silver adorns the caudal fin. Max. length: 60 cm. Male has a lump no top of the skull.

DIET: Diurnal feeders on other fishes. High speed pursuit predators.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: Substrate spawner. Both parents guard their clutch for about 9 weeks. Like most cichlids, breeding pairs are highly territorial and aggressive.

REMARKS: Legally introduced to Florida. Are considered a prized sport and food fish.

LOCATION: Flooded amazon tunnel, AM11


Male below; note lump on top of the skull.