Cichlasoma bimaculatum
(Linnaeus 1758)
Family Cichlidae

Lateral view of a black acara
This black acara, Cichlasoma bimaculatum, a species native to equatorial South America, was collected from a ditch in Broward County. Black acara are often beige with clear to light gray fins. Florida Museum photo by Robert Robins

The black acara is part of the cichlid and tilapia family and is physically similar to the chanchita. It has a stout forebody, more compressed posterior body and is oval to slightly rectangular in shape. The body is beige to gray, the caudal fin is symmetrically spotted and there are typically four anal spines. There is a black to green-gray stripe that extends from the eye through a mid-lateral spot, and then extends to a black spot at the upper caudal fin base. A dark blotch is present below the eye, and this species has a small and terminal mouth. Black rimming along the scale edges is narrow and even, although this feature may be absent in some individuals. Black acara can be found in creeks, lakes, canals, drainage ditches and wet prairies.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Non-indigenous freshwater
  • Florida Distribution — Peninsula drainages
  • River Drainages — Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River and the Everglades
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