Butterfly Peacock Reproduction
The Butterfly Peacock Bass spawn typically from April to September, but will peak during May and June. Florida’s Peacock spawning starts several months earlier than the South American Peacock.
Unlike other bass the Butterfly Peacock Bass prefer very warm water to spawn, much warmer than that required by native North America bass.
Spawning will occur when the water temperature is between 78°F and 82°F. Since they’ve been introduced to many other parts of the world, spawning will occur at different times because of the temperature variations.
Even in South America the time of year varies as the rainy and dry season vary depending on which side of the continent you’re situated.
- The main factor that will trigger spawning, is the same with all fish, it’s based on temperature. The Peacock bass do not spawn in the rainy season. If it’s rainy in the spring, they will spawn towards the fall and vice versa.
Nest preparation – I find this behavior amazing
Both the male and female peacock bass participate in the nest preparation. The Butterfly Peacock Bass start out by clearing a flat hard surface near shore where the female peacock lays between 4,000 and 10,000 eggs. This is another reason why you won’t see the peacocks spawning in the rainy season as water flow is greatly increased and shorelines are constantly in flux.
After the eggs are laid, they attach themselves to the hard flat surface and stay there until they hatch. The female and male Butterfly Peacock Bass then protect them from predators. *Another way they differ from other bass.
- When the young hatch, both adults look after the young fry for several months and defend them very aggressively. If you happen to catch one during spawning, it’s likely to be out of protection for their young.
- all the other bass we cover on our site have the male chase away the female after she lays the eggs. The male then stands guard, defending the nest from predators and stays with the fry for several weeks after they hatch from their eggs.
It’s not unusual to see 2 adult peacock bass with 1,000 young fry swimming along in the South Florida canals. It’s only when the fry reach about 3 inches, or 10 weeks that the parents depart and leave the fry to look after themselves.
The fingerling seek out shelter in and among weeds for the first year where they rapidly grow to about 14 inches/35.5 cm. Although most on average grow at an inch a month, some can grow as much as 2 inches in a month.
Compare this to the growth of Kelp Bass that reach 12 inches/30.5 cm by age 6. It’s no wonder that the Butterfly Peacock is so well loved by anglers the world over. Catching a lunker bass is pretty much guaranteed.
The young Butterfly Peacock Bass continue their rapid growth rates for the first several years until they reach 3 pounds. They’ll reach an average size of 3 to 5 pounds in the United States. Compared with an average size of between 6 to 10 pounds in South America and where they can grow as large as 32 pounds/14.5 kilograms.
The only time that the male and female can be differentiated, other than size, is during spawning when the male Peacock Bass grows a large nuchal hump on the top of its head.