Fish of the Week: Peacock Bass – Cichla melaniae

Cichla melaniae

David Orndorf of Sunbury, Ohio caught this Cichla melaniae on the Rio Xingu in Brazil.

Our “Fish of the Week” is Peacock Bass – Cichla melaniae, one of the newly described (2006) species of Cichla. Commonly referred to as the “Lower Xingu peacock,” it displays three prominent black vertical bars that are slightly slimmer than other species. It shows traces of medial bars between the three main bars and sports numerous small black spots with light colored margins scattered along the body sides. Cichla melaniae is similar to Cichla mirianae except for the absence of light spots on its head and the absence of midlateral ocelli.

The Cichla melaniae features a deep gold color on its sides and shades darker toward dorsum. Its bars and ocellus are black while its upper fins and tips of its lower fins are a bluish hue. Juveniles grow up to 200 mm while adults can range from 200 mm to 400 mm. Its depth-to-length ratio is approximately 31 percent and it features approximately 82 lateral line scales.

This species of peacock bass has been found in the lower Rio Xingu river basin in Brazil, often in lentic (off-current) lagoons and lotic (subject to river current) rock piles. Dave Orndorf caught specimans like the one pictured on shallow running crank baits and pointed pikie minnows. Similar to other species of peacocks, they were caught in side lagoons as well as rock piles in the river. Dave upgraded his lures with enhanced hooks and split rings.

To date, the IGFA record is seven pounds. Cichla melaniae is named after Melanie Stiassny, an important contributor to Cichlid classification.

Acute Angling – Official Website
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