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Species: Mayaheros urophthalmus, Mayan Cichlid

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red-grey; 7 blackish bars
head bluntly pointed
upper C base: large ocellus
mouth short, opens at front, lower jaw projecting
teeth conical

Mayaheros urophthalmus (Gunther, 1862)

Mayan Cichlid

Body an oblong oval; head large, bluntly pointed, upper profile concave, with a hump over eyes; 1 pair of nostrils; mouth short, not reaching to under eye, lower jaw not projecting, top jaw highly protrusible; jaw teeth conical, outer series on top jaw larger at front, central pair on lower jaws (if present) smaller than adjacent two pairs, which are enlarged canines; 5-17 gill rakers; dorsal fin not notched between spines and rays, XVI (XV-XVIII), soft fin as high as spiny part; anal fin VI (V-VII); pectoral short, not reaching to origin of anal fin; tail base short (length <66% its height); tail fin rounded or bluntly straight; lateral line in 2 straight overlapping sections; body scales large, rough, those on operculum smooth; bases of soft dorsal and anal fins scaled.

Tan; belly and throat or entire body may be red-brown; iris yellow; body with 5-8 dark green to blackish bars narrowly bordered with pale turquoise, first one extending obliquely onto nape, last one on tail base, 4th bar with a conspicuous central blotch with pearly marks on scales; a large black vertical oval blotch surrounded by a light turquoise halo on upper half of tail fin base; edges of dorsal and tail fins red.

Reaches 38 cm, 1.135 kg.

Lives in fresh to brackish (mangroves) to full strength salt water in seagrass beds (up to 38 ppt salinity).

Depth range: 0-2 m.

The southern Gulf of Mexico to central Nicaragua; introduced to and widespread in southern Florida.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 38
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 2