A broken lateral line and turquoise ring on the tail are diagnostic; general coloration includes 6-8 bars that can be faint or dark; body color varies greatly in intensity, sometimes with bright red on the chin, throat, and breast; has both spiny and soft dorsal fins; and has a rounded caudal fin.
First recorded in Florida Bay in 1983, now established and abundant in south Florida, as far north as Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie Canal. Native to the Atlantic slopes of Central and South America.
Very adaptable and lives well in variety of habitats including canals, rivers, lakes and marshes; tolerates wide range of salinities.
Spawning Habitats: Nest building primarily occurs in April, followed by peak spawn in May and June; both parents guard young for up to six weeks; generally spawn once per year.
Feeding Habits: Consumes grass shrimp, night crawler worms, red wiggler worms, small fish, snails, and insects, along with some incidental detritus and vegetative matter.
Age and Growth:
Largest measured by Commission scientists was 12.6 inches and weighed 2.37 pounds, but may reach larger sizes as the IGFA world record is listed at 15 inches and 2.5 pounds; maximum reported age is 7 years.
Sometimes referred to as the “atomic sunfish;” takes variety of natural baits including live worms, grass shrimp, crickets, as well as almost any small artificial, particularly jigs, fished on light tackle; wooly worms, small streamers, and popping bugs used by flyfishers also taken aggressively.
Good; white, flaky meat with mild flavor; no bag or size limits.
The Mayan Cichlid is a perfect fish to bowfish for in Florida if you like to bowfish because these fish wreak havoc on the waters they live in. These fish have no size limit or bag limit.
Panfish hooks work perfectly for the Mayan Cichlid’s with a night crawler or a red wiggler worm. They will even eat stuff like slim jims and beef jerky.