Peacock bass

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
December 12, 2016
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Striped fish specimen
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Peacock bass, Cichla monoculus

In 1969, 60 to 100 peacock bass imported from Buga, Colombia, were introduced into a pond in Panama for sport fishing. Several individuals escaped. By the early 1970s, they colonized Gatun Lake, the reservoir forming the main channel of the Panama Canal. Forty-five years later, native fish populations in the lake still have not recovered according to a new Smithsonian report.

Peacock bass, Cichla monoculus, originally from the Amazon River and its tributaries, are voracious predators. They are considered delicious game fish and have been intentionally stocked for recreational and commercial fishing around the world.

Photo courtesy Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute