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Distinctive Looks and Names

     Peacock Bass Fishing - Fire PeacockOnce you see the fish, you'll understand why it is called a peacock bass by most North Americans.  The peacock bass derives its name from the large conspicuous, ocellated (ringed in gold) black mark on its tail, which resembles the vivid "eye" on the beautiful plume of a peacock's tail.  Hence the name, "peacock bass."  The distinctive gold -embroidered circular black halo spot on all peacock bass tails reminds some more of the savage eye of a jungle cat.

     The prominent "false eye" on the tail is actually a deceptive target for predators.  Most all fish have a black eye on their heads, and some have evolved physically one or two ways to "misguide" an attack to the eye area from predators.  One common evolution is the eye spot near the rear of the fish .  Another is color patterns that obscure the eye or detract from its prominence.  The peacock bass has both a false eye on the tail, and vivid and irregular color patterns on the head.

     Peacock Bass Fishing - Giant Butterfly Peacock Peacock Bass Fishing - Butterfly PeacockThe rainbow-like coloration of the peacock bass is striking; the colors rival many saltwater coral reef fish.  It generally has a dark greenish-black or bronze back and a light white belly with rear underside that ranges from golden to mellow yellow or light chartreuse to pink or blood red.  It normally has a main body background area of green, yellow, burnished gold or dark black hues and irregular broad and dusky black vertical bars along its sides.

    Gill covers, tail and fins on the lower half of the body (pelvic and anal fins) are subtly-splashed with traces of hues that widely vary from bronze to bright orange to pink to crimson red to a greenish yellow.  The pectoral fins are not colored.  Colors on the lower gill plate, however, can be vivid.  Black splotches (patterned like random ink spots) abound on the gill covers (near the eye) of the speckled peacock.  Dorsal fins may be a translucent aquamarine or bluish-gray, as can be the top half of the tail fin.

     Add to the above their always striking scarlet or blood red (iris) eyes that stare you down when the fish is mad as hell at you, and you will have the complete picture, as words can describe such.

Peacock, Pavon, Tucunare

     IC#4.2Several species within the genus Cichla are commonly referred to as peacock bass.  Some biologists, literature and/or tour operators contend that there are five distinct species of the colorful peacock, others three or four, and still others say there could be, in fact, a dozen species.  One biologist, in fact, reportedly claims there are perhaps two dozen species of peacock.  Exactly how many species of the colorful peacock there really are depends on which biologist you speak with.

     The common English name, peacock bass, is derived by Americans from the common Spanish name, "pavon" (which means peacock).  "Pavon" is derived from "pavo real."  In Venezuela, the pavon is the national fish of the country.  The fish is also called "tucunare" (from a Tupi Indian/Portuguese dialect, pronounced "too-coon-array") in Brazilian, Panamanian and Hawaiian waters, and "lukanani" in Guyana waters.

 

 

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