Photo credit: Manuel Cano Alfaro (Guatemala)
Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal
Introduction: Jaguar cichlid, Parachromis managuensis which belongs to the family Cichlidae is also known as Jaguar guapote and guapote tigre (in Spanish) is native to Nicaragua in Central America and from there it was introduced to several adjacent countries in Latin America and elsewhere. This species is a food fish throughout its native and introduced range and is also popular in the aquarium trade.
Jaguar cichlid prefers eutrophic lakes and hence is commonly found in very warm water of poor oxygen, and in slow-moving turbid waters. The species was introduced into several lakes in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and others. In fact, the specimen shown in the photo is taken from Lake Amatitlan, Guatemala.
Description: Jaguar cichlids are attractive displaying a shade of a yellowish/bronze throughout the body. A series of large black dots run horizontally along the lateral line area. The species show dimorphism during courting whereas males become more colorful while females develop red pigment especially in the gill plates. Jaguar cichlids male can reach about 33 cm in length compared to about 23-25 cm for females.
Feeding habits: This species is a carnivorous and highly predatory fish. Their diet consists mainly of small fish and macro invertebrates. The species is benthopelagic, living and feeding near the bottom as well as mid-waters or near the surface. Jaguar fish will readily accept variety of food substances and this provides enough flexibility in feeding them on variety of food items in aquariums including blood worm, earthworm, mysis, crickets, prawn, fish and others. In general, jaguar cichlids are aggressive and good hunters.
Reproduction: The species becomes sexually mature when reaching about 10-cm long. The female in the breeding pair lays –depending on her size and age- about 500 to 2000 orange colored eggs. In nature, eggs are laid on rocks and other hard substrates. After eggs are fertilized by the male, the female fans the embryos while the male guards the territory of the nesting site. Depending on water temperature, the incubation may last three to seven days. Afterwards, the embryos hatch into yolk sacs that continue to develop with a sort of parental care till reaching free swimming fry that continue their lives on their own.