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Freshwater Fish of Belize

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Freshwater Fish
Tropical Ecology
American Eel
Scientific Name: Auguilla rostrata
Family: Anguillidae
*Grow up to 5 ft.
*Lives for up to years.
*Distribution: America, Greenland, Canada, USA, West Indies,
*Lives in permanent streams with continuous flow, hides during day
*Feeding Habits: Benthic Larvae , Crustaceans & Fish
*Breeding Habits: Migrate to Sargasso Sea in Autumn
Bull Shark
Scientific Name: Carcharhinus leucas
Family Name: Carcharhinidae
Grow up to 11 ВЅ ft.
Avg. Age: 32 Yrs
Habitat: Fresh, Brackish,Salt
Distribution: Warm Oceans,
Lakes, Rivers. USA, Brazil,
Morocco, Africa, India,
Inhabitants shallow waters,
swims far up-river. Found
near estuaries.
Feeding Habits: Bony Fish,
other Sharks, Rays, Crabs,
Squid, occasionally Garbage
Most Dangerous Trop. Shark
Live Birth
Scientific Name: Megalops atlanticus
Family: Megalopidae
Grows up to 8 ft
Habitat: Fresh, Brackish, Marine-Mangrove, Coastal, Estuaries
Distribution: Portugal, USA, Brazil, Panama, America, Canada
Lives in schools
Feeding Habits: Eats Fish-Sardines, Anchovies
Can live in oxygen poor waters
Game Fish: Largest on Record 238 lbs!!
Southern PlatyFish
Scientific Name: Xiphophorus maculatus
Family Name: Cyprinodontimformes
• Grows up to 6 cm
• Distribution: The Americas; from Mexico to N. Belize
• Habitat: Lives in warm springs, canals, & ditches in slow-moving
water, silt bottoms and weedy banks
• Feeding Habits: Worms, Crustacean, & Insects
• Live Bearer
Jack Dempsey
Scientific Name: Cichlasoma octofasciatum
Family: Cichlidae
*Grow up to 25 cm
*Distribution: N. & C. America; southern Mexico to Honduras
*Lives in wetland areas with warm, murky water.
*Found in weedy, mud-bottomed and sand-bottomed canals.
*Prefers coastal plains & slow moving waters of lower river valleys.
*Feeds on worms, benthics and fish.
Southern Checkmark Cichlid
Scientific Name: Vieja godmanni
Family: Cichlidae
*Inhabits rivers and streams
*Prefers fast flowing, cooler waters, such as mountain runoffs.
*Feeding Habits: Omnivorous-specialized in fresh vegetation
Blue-Eye Cichlid
Scientific Name: Cichlisoma spilurum
Family: Cichlidae
*Small Species: Grow up to 12 cm.
*Habitat: from lowland swamps or wetlands to cool
mountain streams.
Firemouth Cichlid
Scientific Name: Cichlisoma meeki
Family: Cichlidae
*Grow up to around 4 ft.
*One of the most abundant Cichlids.
*Relatively a deep-bodied species with a triangular head
*Studies have shown that the eyespots on the opercle makes the
fish look larger when flared
Mayan Cichlid
Scientific Name: Cichlasoma urophthalmus
Family: Cichlidae
*Grow up to 20 cm.
*Most common in low-lying coastal areas.
*Large predatory cichlid
*Tolerant of saltwater & have been found breeding there.
*Studies show, species grows quicker in saltwater
Redhead Cichlid
Scientific Name: Cichlasoma synspilum
Family: Cichlidae
*Females grow up to 17 cm, Males are usually larger.
*Confused with the Maculicuada because of body shape &
*Feeding Habits: Omnivorous, prone more to vegetation.
Yellowjacket Cichlid
Scientific Name: Cichlasoma friedrichstali
Family: Cichlidae
*Grow up to 15 ВЅ cm
*One of the largest Belize Cichlids.
*One of the most Distinct Cichlids-Large Mouth, Brassy Yellow
Bay Snook
Scientific name: Petinia splendida
Family: Cichlidae
•Can grow to 30 cm
•Feeding Habits: feeds on other fish
•In Belize it is used for food & as a game fish.
Swordspine Snook
Scientific Name: Centropomus ensiferus
Family Name: Perciformes
• Can grow up to 36 cm
• Distribution: Western Atlantic & Continental coasts of Central
and South America
• Habitat: Freshwater, Brackish, Marine
• Lives mainly in coastal waters, estuaries and lagoons, prefers
freshwater. Found over soft bottoms
• Feeding Habits: Small fish and crustacean
Mexican Snook
Scientific Name: Centropomus poeyi
Family Name: Perciformes
Grow up to 90 cm
Habitat: Freshwater, brackish, Marine
Distribution: Mexico to Belize
Lives in coastal waters, estuaries and lagoons
Spawning occurs in fresh or low-brackish waters
Feeding Habits: Fish and Crustaceans
Nile Talipia
Scientific Name: Oreochromis niloticus
Family Name: Perciformes
Grow up to 60 cm
Habitat: Freshwater & Brackish
Distribution: Africa; coastal
waters of Israel; Nile,
Introduced species to Belize
Adverse ecological impacts have
been reported
Lives in wide variety of
freshwater habitats; rivers,
lakes, sewage canals, etc.
Mainly diurnal
Feeding Habits: Phytoplankton
or benthic algae
Food Fish
Atlantic Thread Herring
Scientific Name: Opisthonema oglinun
Family Name: Clupeidae
• Lives in Mangrove channels
• Feeding habits: Filters
plankton (Copepods) & also
takes in small fish and crabs.
• Distribution: Central
Atlantic, from Chesapeake
Bay to Brazil (Belize)
Thread Fin Shad
Scientific Name: Dorsoma pretenense
Family: Clupeidae
*Can grow up to 18 cm.
*Feeding Habits: Eats plankton but when scarce it will find
something else
*Spawn in schools early in the morning in shallow water near brush,
logs, or plants to minimize predation of eggs
*Eggs adhesive
Native Name:
Scientific Name: Brycon guatemalensis
• Grow up to 59 cm
• Central America: From
Grijalva River, Mexico to E.
Panama; in the Pacific slope,
only in Choluteca River basin
of Honduras.
• Found in lakes, rivers &
streams between 0 & 600 m
• The young feed on
terrestrial & aquatic insects,
leaves, fruits and seeds.
• Adults mainly herbivorous
• Eggs are deposited in nests
located in sand bottoms of
Spinycheek Sleeper
Scientific Name: Eleotris pisonis
Family Name: Eleotridae
Grow to 25 cm
Distribution: Bermuda, Bahamas,
Gulf of Mexico, Central America,
Lives in shallow muddy waters or
sandy bottoms
Feeding Habits: dipteran larvae
& pupae, crustaceans, such as
crabs, & even small fish
Bigmouth Sleeper
Scientific Name: Gobiomorus dormitor
Family: Eleotridae
*Grow up to 60 cm
*Distribution: U.S.; southern Florida & southern Texas to eastern
Brazil, Africa; Macias Nguema (Fernando Po).
*Adults live in fresh water-Well Inland.
*Inhabits larger free flowing clear water streams
*Lies mostly on the bottom in slower moving part of streams
*Carnivores and Benthivores
*Relies on its sluggish behavior & cryptic coloration to capture
crustaceans and fish.
River Goby
Scientific Name: Awaous banana
Family Name: Gobiidae
• Grow up to 30 cm
• Habitat: Fresh, brackish, clear streams & rivers, but also in
muddy turbid waters, Prefers well oxygenated water
• Feeding Habits: Mainly filamentous Algae
Lyre Goby
Scientific Name: Evorthodus lyricus
Family Name: Gobiidae
• Grow to 15 cm
• Distribution: From
Chesapeake Bay, USA to the
Northern Gulf of Mexico,
continuing to the Northern
parts of South America
• Occurs mainly in muddy
backwaters, often in foul
Crested Goby
Scientific Name: Lophogobius cyprinoides
Family Name: Gobiidae
• Grow to 10 cm
• Habitat: Freshwater, Brackish & Marine
• Distribution: Western Atlantic, Bermuda, Florida (USA), to
Central and South America
• Lives in tidal creeks, mangroves & other quite, fresh to fully
saline waters
Banded Astyanx
Scientific Name: Astyanax aneus
Family: Characidae
*Grow up to 10 cm
*Distribution: North, Central & South America, & most freshwater
basins from Mexico to Argentina.
*Inhabits: Slow-moving streams & rivers and lentic areas.
*Vivacious, eats small fish & will bite pieces of meat.
Mountain Mullet
Scientific Name: Agonostomus monticola
Family: Mugilidae
*Grow up to 5 ВЅ cm
*Distribution: North America; North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana & Texas,
U.S., to Colombia & Venezuela, including the West Indies.
*Adults live in freshwater rivers & streams. .
*Only mullet that swims far inland and spends all its adult life in
*Tends solitary in upper streams, but form uneven schools in larger
streams at lower elevations
Bobo Mullet
Scientific Name:Joturus pichardi
Family Name: Mugildae
Grow up to 61 cm
Max Weight Recorded: 3,250 g
Habitat: Freshwater, Brackish,
Distribution: Central America;
Mexico to Panama, Florida & the
Wet Indies
Adults live in upper reaches of
rivers but enter brackish water
when spawning
Important food fish in some
Feeding Habits: Herbivores,
scrapes algae from rocks with
its fleshy lips, although
sometimes eats prawn.
Shortfin Molly
Scientific Name: Poecilia mexicana
Family: Poeciliidae
*Grow up to 9 ВЅ cm
*Considerable variation in size among the various populations.
*Mainly feeds on detritus- Feeds in fast water too.
*Found in still or slow moving water & even on bottom
*Bottom Feeder
*Effective Camouflage
*Hides in vegetation &
behind rocks
*Opportunistic feeder
Mayan Sea Catfish
Scientific Name: Hexanematichthys Assimilis
Family Name: Ariidae
Grow up to 32 cm
Habitat: Marine, Freshwater, Brackish
Distribution: Central America, Belize River basin
Gamefish & Foodfish
Scientific Name: Belonesox belizanus
Family Name: Poeciliidae
• Grow up to 14 cm
• Habitat: Mostly Freshwater
& sometimes Brackish
• Distribution: North & Central
• Live Bearers
• Lives in weedy canals &
tolerates poorly oxygenated
• Formerly used in medical
Green Swordtail
Scientific Name: Xiphophorus hellerii
Family Name: Poeciliidae
Grow up to 14 cm
Habitat: Freshwater, Brackish,
pH range 7.0-8.0
Distribution: North & Central
America, & in parts of Africa
Live Bearers
Live mainly in rapidly flowing
streams & rivers, preferring
heavily vegetated habitats.
Occur in warm springs & their
effluents, weedy canals & ponds
Feeding Habits: Eat worms,
insects, crustacean & plant
Dogtooth Rivulus
Scientific Name: Rivulus tenuis
Family Name: Rivulidae
• Grow up to 6 ½ cm
• Distribution: Central America; Guatemala, Mexico, Found in
Lowland areas across Belize
• Aquarium Fish
• Lives in Freshwater only
• Hide in vegetation at water’s edge
Scientific Name: Gobisox nudus
Family Name: Gobiesocidae
• Grow up to 15 cm
• Distribution: Central & South
America; Belize & Honduras
• Lives in rivers and creeks
with high velocity currents
• Feeding Habits: fish, fish
scales, & aquatic insects
Burro Grunt
Scientific Name: Pomadasys crocro
Family Name: Haeumildae
• Grow up to 38 cm
• Habitat: Freshwater,
Brackish, Marine
• Distribution: Western
Atlantic, southern Florida,
Gulf of Mexico & throughout
the Caribbean Sea southward
to Brazil
• Lives in rivers and creeks of
low to high current velocity.
Found along sandy shores &
over mud bottoms in shallow
water, common in brackish
mangrove-lined lagoons
• Feeding Habits: Eats
Crustaceans & small fish
Belize Anchovy
Scientific Name: Anchoa mitchilli
Family Name: Engraulididae
• Grow to 5.8 cm
• Distribution: Central America, Belize & Guatemala
• Feeding Habits: prey on invertebrates
Atlantic sabretooth anchovy
Scientific Name: Lycengraulis grossidens
Family Name: Engraulidae
• Grow to 23 ½ cm
• Habitat: Freshwater,
Brackish, Marine
• Distribution: Western
Atlantic; Belize, Venezuela &
the Amazon
• Feeding Habits: Eats mainly
small fish & various
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