Species Info

Mayan Cichlid

Type:  Other Non-Native

Appearance:  A broken lateral line and turquoise ring on the tail are diagnostic. Color varies greatly in intensity sometimes with bright red on the chin, throat, and breast; the 6-8 bars can be faint or dark.

State record:  Vacant. Qualifying size: 2 lbs.

BigCatch:  To qualify your catch needs to exceed the listed weight OR length (not necessarily both).

Habitat:  Mayans are illegally/ accidentally established nonnative fish. First recorded in Florida Bay in 1983, they are abundant in south Florida as far north as Lake Okeechobee. Native to Central and South America, they have adapted to Florida canals, rivers, lakes and marshes and tolerate a wide range of salinities.

Behavior:  Consumes grass shrimp, small fish, snails, and insects along with some incidental detritus and vegetative matter.

Tips:  Referred to as "atomic sunfish"; they take natural baits like worms, grass shrimp, or crickets, and small artificial lures. Jigs, fished on light tackle do well, or flyfishers may use wooly worms and popping bugs. Good eating fish; take as many as you like, but do not live release them.



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