Butterfly Peacock Features and Size
While we have only 3 types of the Peacock Bass on this site, it’s believed that there’s as many as 12 different types within the lakes and rivers of the Amazon catchment. We focus on just 3 varieties because there’s so much confusion over the ones already identified.
Many people label the speckled peacock (Cichla temensis) wrongly as the butterfly peacock (Cichla ocellaris). The butterfly clearly has 3 blotches whereas the speckled peacock has 3 bars. The butterfly also doesn’t have any markings on the opercula*, whereas the speckled peacock does.
Features and Color Range
The Butterfly Peacock Bass has a wide range of color although it’s not as pretty as the Blackstripe peacock bass. Even so, it’s still a beautiful fish compared to many of the North American fish.
This is how you’ll recognise a Butterfly Peacock:
- The very top of the butterfly peacock bass along with its dorsal fins is dark, lime green broken up by a few yellow patches.
- It’s head is mostly green, but broken up by a red and yellow iris.
- This is absolutely remarkable as the eyes match the anal, pelvic and pectoral fins bright red/orange.
- From the fins up, there is an orange/yellow that moves up most of the fish’s body mixing in with the green.
It’s just a truly stunning fish to look at. And in clear water, this fish is just magnificent.
Perhaps part of its strategy is to stun the angler as it tries to get away. No, this is one incredible fighting fish and if you’re not careful it will get away before you even have a chance to wonder what went wrong.
Ok, let’s get back to describing this wondrous fish.
- There are dark yellow tinged blotches along the lateral midsection.
- These blotches intersect with faint bars that typically fade in fish weighing more than 3 to 4 pounds.
- And then there’s the common characteristic shared by all peacocks : the black circular eye spot that’s rimmed in gold and located on the base of the caudal fin. This spot closely resembles the tail plume of a peacock fowl. Hence the name peacock bass became the perfect moniker.
Shape and Size
The butterfly peacock has a body shape that’s similar to a largemouth which is in part why it was named the butterfly peacock bass in the United States even though they aren’t related to each other. And while they weigh 3 to 5 lbs on average, they can reach in the 10 to 12 lb range.
When the Butterfly Peacock Bass small fry reach an advanced fingerling stage they are no longer protected by their parents and must head out on their own. The young fry will seek out shelter in and among weeds for the first year where they will rapidly grow to about 14 inches, averaging a staggering 1 inch per month. This is more than any other native fresh water fish. Click here for a full description of the reproduction habits.
Unlike the Striper bass, the male peacock bass grow larger than the females with females generally being half the size of the males.
They continue their rapid growth rates for the first several years until they reach 3 lbs at which point their growth rates slow down. The average peacock in the United States is between 3 to 4 lbs.
Those caught in South American waters average between 6 and 10 lbs and many exceed 18 lbs.
The Speckled Peacock Bass is the largest of the peacock series reaching a weight of 32 lbs.
*The operculum is the bony support structure that gives a protective covering for the gills. It’s also used for respiration and feeding.