Heros severus
Heckel 1840
Family Cichlidae

Lateral view of banded cichlid
The photo above shows a male, top, and a female, bottom, banded cichlid. These fish were collected in Miami-Dade County, Florida in 2015 and are now part of the Florida Museum ichthyology collection, UF 237871. Florida Museum photo by Zachary Randall

The banded cichlid is a member of the cichlid and tilapia family. It has a deep-bodied and compressed shape, with a nearly rectangular body. The body color can vary but is generally gray with between five and seven dark bars on the side of the body. The stripe that extends from the dorsal fin to the anal base is often the only complete bar. The dorsal fin is light green to turquoise, and the area between the eye and snout is spotted or streaked in mauve and blue. There is a small mouth with a maxilla that doesn’t reach the eye, and the anal fin has between seven and eight spines. The scales above the upper lateral line are noticeably smaller than those below. Banded cichlids can be found in canals and lakes.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Non-indigenous freshwater
  • Florida Distribution — Peninsula drainages
  • River Drainages — the Everglades
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