Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Risk assessment of chanchita Cichlasoma dimerus (Heckel, 1840), a newly identified non-native cichlid fish in Florida.

Abstract

The risk of a newly discovered non-native fish species in Florida (USA):Cichlasoma dimerus ([Heckel, 1840]; Family: Cichlidae) is assessed. Its tolerance to cold temperatures was experimentally evaluated and information on its biology and ecology was synthesized. In the cold-temperature tolerance experiment, temperature was lowered from 24°C by increments of 1°C per hour, mimicking a typical cold weather front. Fish lost equilibrium at a mean temperature of 7.8°C and died at 4.7°C. Those values are lower than most other non-native fishes from the state that have been experimentally evaluated, and it appears C. dimerus is the most cold-tolerant cichlid established in Florida. The combination of cold-temperature tolerance and other biological/ecological factors (e.g., adult size, reproduction and parental care, diet, habitat, and other behaviors) along with the geographic range and habitat diversity of specimens vouchered in museums, indicate C. dimerus may be able to invade many freshwater ecosystems in the state, including environmentally sensitive freshwater springs.