Broken lateral line and black-and-white patterning make this species distinct; toothed and protrusible mouth; numerous purple to black spots or blotches on body and fins with series of black squares along their sides; males typically larger than females; only local species that might be confused with the jaguar guapote is the black crappie, but guapote's teeth and broken lateral line instantly set it apart.
Known mostly from coastal canal systems of southeast Florida, ranging as far north as West Palm Beach; first reported in 1992 from a photograph of two specimens caught in a farm pond, near Miami Canal. Native range is Atlantic slope of Central and South America.
Currently found in southeast Florida box-cut canals; tolerant of poor water quality. In native range occupy a variety of habitats including rivers and lakes with muddy, sandy, and rocky bottoms.
Spawning Habitats: Female lays about 4,000 adhesive eggs on hard, flat surface; both parents protective of eggs and young; most spawning occurs from March through July, with a secondary peak in October-November.
Feeding Habits: Medium-sized opportunistic predator; feeds primarily on small fish (including many exotic species) and aquatic insects; also consumes some snails, worms, and even an occasional lizard.
Age and Growth
Largest collected by FWC about 16 inches long and weighed 2.8 pounds, but reportedly grows larger.
Limited; caught on beetle-spins and other small artificial baits, as well as, live worms and small fish; no bag or size limits.
Excellent; a mainstay in its native range.
State Record: Not included in state records data base. IGFA all-tackle record caught in Florida weighed 3.5 pounds and was 21.5 inches long.
Image Credit: © Diane Peebles