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Peacock Bass ID Guide

An Anglers Guide to the
Recognized Species of Peacock Bass

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'Borboleto'Cichla orinocensis —Humboldt & Valenciennes 1821

Amazon Peacock Bass species Cichla orinocensis
Cichla orinocensis

Also called "taua" or "borboleta" (meaning butterfly in Portuguese). This nomenclature often causes confusion among Amazon visitors familiar with Florida’s "butterfly peacocks" (transplanted Cichla ocellaris). The species occurs naturally in the Negro, Branco and Orinoco drainages. Attains weights of up to about 12 pounds.

Where to catch: Floating Bungalow trip
                            Blackwater Explorer yacht trip

ID Key: Has 3 distinct ocelli on the sides of the body in place of the vertical bars of other species; body color ranges from bright golden yellow to olive green and is fairly uniformly distributed along the torso. There are no dark markings on the operculum (cheeks).

Identification Keys
Bars and Markings Colors Size Key Characters Similar Species
3 distinct, black ocelli ringed with silvery outline in place of three bars Postorbital band (or series of connected blotches on operculum (cheek) not present. Reproductively active specimens show intensified coloration. Some specimens with a unique reticulated pattern and a reddish cast to their coloration are encountered in certain regions (based on meristic characters, apparently a phenotypic variant of C. orinocensis). Otherwise coloration is fairly consistent between individuals. Juveniles: up to about 200mm
(8 inches)

Adults: from 200mm up to about 500mm (20 inches)
Depth to length ratio: approx. 30%

Lateral Line Scales: approx. 80
Most similar to
C. kelberi
C. pleiozona C. ocellaris
C. monoculus
C. nigromaculatus
Angler's Summary
Known Range Behavior Notes Habitat Common Names IGFA records
Countries: Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil.

River Basins: Rio Negro, Rio Branco and Rio Orinoco basins.
Generally when found in waters where C. temensis is present, C. orinocensis tends to occupy shallower, slower waters. Aggressive fry guarders. Primarily occupies lentic (slow or still water) environments in lagoons, backwaters and shoreline pockets. C. orinocensis relates to blackwater environments. Borboleto
Pavon mariposa
Pavon amarillo
All tackle—lbs

Fishing Tactics

Similar fishing tactics to C. temensis, although less likely to attack large prop baits, such as woodchoppers. Readily taken on walking stick baits, such as Zara Spooks and on subsurface lures, especially the peacock bass jig. Although normally caught unintentionally by anglers pursuing the larger C. temensis, C. orinocensis can achieve fairly large sizes and has excellent fighting characteristics.

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