Beware of the sharp dorsal spines of peacock bass when handling them. The eating qualities of peacock bass can be improved if they are killed humanely by iki jime, or a firm knock to the head before placing them in an ice slurry after bleeding.
- There are several different species of peacock bass, each with different colourations. In general, these fish are greenish above grading to a bright yellow or orange on the flanks, with various patterns of between 3 and 8 strong black vertical bars or blotches on the sides.
- All species of peacock bass have a false eyespot (caudal ocellus or peacock spot) on the tail.
- Colouration can vary with age of the fish as well as sexual maturation. Within each species, there are usually two different colour phases, depending on their degree of reproductive readiness.
- The non spawning phase is often lighter in colour with numerous small horizontal dots, while during spawning, these fish develop much darker yellow or orange sides with prominent black bars or blotches.
- Despite their name, these fish are actually cichlids, not bass.
- Peacock bass are endemic to tropical rivers in South America, in several countries including Brazil, Guyana, French Guyana, Venezuela and Suriname. Here, they are native to several major river drainages including the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers (and their various tributaries) as well as several other coastal rivers draining into the Atlantic Ocean.
- Peacock bass have also been introduced into several other countries including Panama, Puerto Rico, and the USA (Florida, Hawaii) for sportfishing.
Fish Size Common Length:
30 to 70 cm, maximum size for some species exceeds 100 cm and approaches 15 kg