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Florida Fish: Non-Native Florida Fish (3)
The jaguar guapote fish was first reported in Florida in 1992. Jaguar Guapote (Cichlasoma managuense)  A broken lateral line and black-and-white patterning make the jaguar guapote distinct. It has a toothed and protrusible mouth, and numerous purple to black spots or blotches on it's body and fins with a series of black squares along their side. male jaguar guapote are typically larger than females. The only local species that might be confused with the jaguar guapote is the black crappie, but guapote's teeth and broken lateral line instantly set it apart. Known mostly from coastal canal systems of southeast Florida, ranging as far north as West Palm Beach, the jaguar guapote was first reported in Florida in 1992 from a photograph of two specimens caught in a farm pond, near Miami Canal, and is currently found in southeast Florida box-cut canals The jaguar guapote has a native range in the Atlantic slope of Central and South America. Tolerant of poor water quality, in  it's native range the jaguar guapote occupy a variety of habitats including rivers and lakes with muddy, sandy, and rocky bottoms. A medium-sized opportunistic predator; jaguar guapote feeds primarily on small fish (including many exotic species) and aquatic insects, it also consumes some snails, worms, and even an occasional lizard. The largest jaguar guapote collected by FWC was about 16 inches long and weighed 2.8 pounds, but  they reportedly grows larger. Most spawning occurs from March through July, with a secondary peak in October-November.

First recorded in Florida Bay in 1983, the Mayan cichlid is now established and abundant in south Florida Mayan Cichlid (Cichlasoma urophthalmus) First recorded in Florida Bay in 1983, the Mayan cichlid is now established and abundant in south Florida as far north as Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie Canal. The Mayan cichlid is native to Atlantic slope of Central and South America. Like so many members of the family Cichlidae, the Mayan cichlid thrives under a wide range of environmental conditions. Within their native range this euryhaline fish is found in a wide range of coastal lowland habitats, exhibiting a tolerance if not outright affinity for brackish to marine conditions. Mayan cichlids have even been observed to breed in the sandy areas near coral reefs. The Mayan cichlid has a classical fish shape. Like many cichlids it bears a more than superficial resemblance to the North American sunfishes of the family Centrarchidae. The body is ovate and the first dorsal and anal fin are spinous. The caudal fin is slightly rounded. The pectoral and pelvic fins are unremarkable in size and color. The mouth is neither large nor small and is in proportion with the body. The most distinctive feature of the Mayan cichlid is its coloration. The Mayan cichlid is a predator of small fishes and aquatic invertebrates. Plant matter and detritus have been recorded from the stomachs of Mayan cichlids although it is likely that these items are ingested incidentally to the consumption of a primary prey.


First discovered in Florida in July 1980,the Midas cichlid is now common in the Black Creek and Cutler Drain canal systems in Miami-Dade County. Midas Cichlid (Cichlasoma citrinellum) First discovered in Florida in July 1980,the Midas cichlid is now common in the Black Creek and Cutler Drain canal systems in Miami-Dade County. The Midas cichlid's native range includes Atlantic slope of Nicaragua and Costa Rica where it is more common in lakes than rivers. The Midas Cichlid is eye catching and gorgeous. The color morphs that can be acquired are really striking, range in colors from oranges, yellows, whites, and mixtures of these. It is one of the fish that was used to breed today's popular hybrid, the Flowerhorn Cichlid. It is also now being used in scientific studies for behavioral research. The Midas Cichlid grows to a length of 10 - 14 inches and can weigh over 2.5 pounds; males tend to be larger than females The Midas cichlid feed primarily on snails and other benthic material including aquatic insects, small fishes, and some plant and animal matter attached to or associated with submerged logs, leaves, or rocks. Similar to other substrate spawning cichlids that provide bi-parental care, the parents also produce a mucous body covering fed on by young. Female Midas cichlids mature by 7 inches and males by 8 inches. March through May appears to be the peak spawning season for the Midas cichlid.

Oscars are most abundant in canals of water conservation areas and the Everglades habitats of Collier, western Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus) Young oscars have wavy white and orange markings on black background, while the body and fins of adults have olive blue-green and mustard colors, highlighting large dark blotches, and a bright red eyespot at base of upper caudal fin. The oscar's body is a stout more oval body shape than native bream, some have orange or red markings and all have a thick mucus coat on the body. Oscars are most abundant in canals of water conservation areas and the Everglades habitats of Collier, western Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Oscar fish occur throughout south Florida, but are typically not as abundant as in marsh-related canals, where they are most successful in canals running through marsh habitats. Oscar are found in lesser numbers in coastal canals, ponds, and lakes from central Florida southward. Native range of the oscar fish includes the Orinoco, La Plata, and Amazon river basins in South America, where they feed primarily on small fish, insects, and crustaceans. Two-pound oscars are considered large. The IGFA record for an oscar caught in Florida was an exceptional fish reported to weigh 3.5 pounds. Oscars caught in the Everglades average 10 inches and twelve ounces; biologists do not know how long oscars typically live.
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