Midas Cichlid: Cichlasoma citrinellum
Has multiple color phases (or morphs) ranging from dull gray and
black to orange, red, and even white; all young start off gray,
looking much like small bluegill or Mayan cichlid, but most change
to brightly-colored morphs, starting when they are about three
inches long; a mottled coloration indicates a fish in transition;
in Florida, more than 95% of adults greater than 10 inches are
brightly colored, but this ratio is nearly reversed in their native
range; males and females equally likely to be brightly colored;
pronounced forehead nuchal hump associated with breeding present in
some fish; like most other cichlids this one has broken lateral
First discovered in Florida in July 1980, now common in the
Black Creek and Cutler Drain canal systems in Miami-Dade County.
Native range includes Atlantic slope of Nicaragua and Costa Rica
where more common in lakes than rivers.
Prefers clear-water, box-cut canals with lots of shoreline
crevices that they use to hide from predators.
Spawning Habitats: Similar to
other substrate spawning cichlids that provide biparental care;
parents also produce a mucous body covering fed on by young;
females mature by 7 inches and males by 8 inches; March through May
appears to be the peak spawning season.
Feeding Habits: Feed primarily on
snails and other benthic material including aquatic insects, small
fishes, and some plant and animal matter attached to or associated
with submerged logs, leaves, rocks, etc.
Age and Growth:
Reaches just over a foot in length, and can weigh over 2.5
pounds; males tend to be larger than females.
Rarely caught on hook and line, but can sometimes be aggravated
into biting; no bag or size limits.
Little known, but probably good.
Fishing Tips and Facts: