Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Astronotinae
Etymology: Astronotus: Greek, astra = ray + Greek, noton = back (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 6.0 - 8.0; dH range: 5 - 19. Tropical; 22°C - 25°C (Ref. 1672), preferred ?; 4°N - 15°S, 78°W - 47°W
South America: Amazon River basin in Peru, Colombia and Brazil; French Guiana. Reported from Argentina (Ref. 9086).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 12.0  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 45.7 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); common length : 24.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193); max. published weight: 1.6 kg (Ref. 40637)
(total): 12 - 14;
soft rays: 15 - 17. Large mouth with thick lips; 7 preopercular pores; first gill arch without lobe; gill rakers short and thick with many denticles; dorsal and anal fins bases densely scaled; many branched rays; body color dark with bright orange opercle margin and ventral parts of the lateral sides of the body; often a black rounded blotch with orange margin at caudal fin base (Ref. 35237).
Preferably inhabits quiet shallow waters in mud-bottomed and sand-bottomed canals and ponds (Ref. 5723). Feeds on small fish, crayfish, worms and insect larvae. Quite popular with aquarists but not for aquaculturists because of its slow growth (Ref. 35237). Maximum length 40 cm TL (Ref. 5723). A highly esteemed food fish in South America (Ref. 44091).
In captivity, both male and female clean a suitable spawning site - often a flat rock , or branches, or in a circular nest excavated in shallow water (Ref. 44091). Eggs (usually numbering in the thousands, Ref. 44091) are deposited and are guarded by both parents. Egg hatch in 3 or 4 days and parent move the fry to a shallow pit in the sand where they remain for 6 or 7 days (Ref. 7020).
Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p. (Ref. 5723)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: highly commercial