Tucunaré—Cichla temensis —Humboldt & Valenciennes 1821
Cichla temensis is the largest member of the peacock bass genus. Its violent behavior and awesome tackle-busting power is the primary attraction that brings avid sport fisherman to the Amazon. This top level predator is considered by many to be the most powerful freshwater gamefish in the world.
C. temensis, in its bright spawning color phase (above right) is called "açú" in Brazil or "3-bar" in English. They become heavier and deeper bodied in this form due to pre-spawn changes and matured gonads.
In the "paca" form (opposite right), C. temensis displays a darker color pattern and a more hydrodynamic shape.
|Bars and Markings||Colors||Size||Key Characters||Similar Species|
|3 distinct, entire bars from dorsal peak to below lateral line, almost to abdomen Distinctive postorbital band (or series of connected blotches on operculum (cheek). In paca form, four horizontal rows of light colored speckles.||Extremely variable
(Click image to enlarge)
|Juveniles: up to about 300mm
Adults: from 300mm up to about 1 meter (39 inches)
|Depth to length ratio: approx. 25%
Lateral Line Scales: approx. 110
|Most similar to
|Known Range||Behavior Notes||Habitat||Common Names||IGFA records|
|Countries: Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil
River Basins: Rio Negro, Orinoco, Madeira and Branco basins, with some, limited populations noted in several rivers draining into the Solimoes and Amazon
|A primarily piscivorous (fish-eating) predator, C. temensis will behave as both a pursuit feeder and an opportunistic feeder. Their determined and aggressive fry-guarding behavior makes large acu readily accessible to sharp-eyed anglers.||Primarily occupies lentic (slow or still water) environments in lagoons, backwaters and shoreline pockets. However, readily enters faster waters to feed and when water levels leave most lentic habitat dry. Mostly restricted to blackwater systems.||Three-barred peacock
|All tackle—27 lbs|
Cichla temensis is the premier peacock bass species pursued by trophy anglers. It's sheer size, violent attacks and general overall aggressiveness have made it the most highly regarded of all freshwater sportfish. It has spurred volumes of literature and endless variations of tactics and techniques. See our 'Peacock Bass Primer' for a thorough introductory guide to catching this species in its native, pulsative river environments.