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Rocio octofasciata
(Jack Dempsey)

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Datasheet

Rocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Documented Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Rocio octofasciata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Jack Dempsey
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Actinopterygii
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Rocio octofasciata is a popular ornamental freshwater fish, native to north and central America, that has been introduced to aquatic habitats of at least five countries. It has become established in these new h...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Rocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey cichlid); adult, captive specimen.
TitleAdult
CaptionRocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey cichlid); adult, captive specimen.
Copyright©Mark Maddern
Rocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey cichlid); adult, captive specimen.
AdultRocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey cichlid); adult, captive specimen.©Mark Maddern
Rocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey cichlid); adult, 58mm in length.
TitleAdult
CaptionRocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey cichlid); adult, 58mm in length.
Copyright©Mark Maddern
Rocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey cichlid); adult, 58mm in length.
AdultRocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey cichlid); adult, 58mm in length.©Mark Maddern

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Rocio octofasciata (Regan, 1903)

Preferred Common Name

  • Jack Dempsey

Other Scientific Names

  • Archocentrus octofasciatus (Regan, 1903)
  • Cichlasoma biocellatum (Regan, 1903)
  • Cichlasoma hedricki Meek, 1904
  • Cichlasoma octofasciatum (Regan, 1903)
  • Cichlasoma octofasciatus (Regan, 1903)
  • Cichlosoma biocellatum (Regan, 1903)
  • Heros octofasciatus Regan, 1903
  • Nandopsis octofasciata (Regan, 1903)
  • Parapetenia octofasciata (Regan, 1903)

International Common Names

  • English: Jack Dempsey cichlid
  • Spanish: mojarra castarrica
  • German: achtbindenbuntbarsch

Local Common Names

  • Denmark: Jack Demsey-cichlide
  • Finland: helmikirjoahven
  • Mexico: riquiraqui
  • Poland: pielegnica niebieskoluska

Summary of Invasiveness

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Rocio octofasciata is a popular ornamental freshwater fish, native to north and central America, that has been introduced to aquatic habitats of at least five countries. It has become established in these new habitats because of wide environmental tolerances, the ability to colonize disturbed habitats, trophic opportunism, fast growth rates and advanced parental care of offspring. R. octofasciata is euryhaline and highly tolerant of hypoxic conditions. The species is aggressive, particularly when breeding, as territories are established on the substrate and defended against intruders. Potential ecological impacts include predation and resource competition upon endemic fish fauna, and predation of aquatic invertebrate communities in general. 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Actinopterygii
  •                     Order: Perciformes
  •                         Family: Cichlidae
  •                             Genus: Rocio
  •                                 Species: Rocio octofasciata

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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R. octofasciata was described as Heros octofasciatus by Regan (1903). The species has a complex taxonomic history and its current placement in the genus Rocio is still questioned by some authors. According to Hulsey et al. (2011), the generic allocation of R. octofasciata is still uncertain. It belongs to the tribe Heroini, but is maintained as an incertae sedis species of Cichlasoma pending a revision of heroin cichlids.

The species has been variously assigned to the genera Heros, Archocentrus, Cichlasoma, Nandopsis and Parapetenia prior to placement in the new genus Rocio created by Schmitter-Soto (2007). Schmitter-Soto (2007) placed R. octofasciata and two newly-described species, R. ocotal and R. gemmata in the newly created genus.

R. octofasciata is universally referred to as the Jack Dempsey cichlid. Jack Dempsey (1895-1983) was an American world champion heavyweight boxer. The species was named after the said boxer as a reflection of the cichlid's aggressive nature.

Description

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R. octofasciata is a medium-sized cichlid that grows up to 25 cm total length (TL), although it is commonly much smaller (7-20 cm TL). The background colour of R. octofasciata is grey-olive to dark blue-green, with small iridescent white or blue-green spots on the head, body and medial fins. There are 8-11 faint vertical stripes (grey black) along the body and part of the head and the abdomen is white-grey. The dorsal fin has a red edge. The lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw. There are two grey to black lines between the eyes, 17-19 dorsal spines, 8-10 dorsal soft rays, 8-9 anal spines, 7-9 anal soft rays and 27-30 lateral line scales. Fry are camouflaged and coloured pale grey with pale turquoise spots (Page and Burr, 1991Schmitter-Soto, 2007Zworykin and Pashkov, 2010Froese and Pauly, 2014Nico and Neilson, 2014).

A bright blue variant normally referred to as ‘electric blue Jack Dempsey’ or simply ‘EBJD’ is an ornamental strain fixed from a natural mutation (Practical Fishkeeping, 2014). The body colour is a uniform bright, metallic, medium dark blue. 

Distribution

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R. octofasciata is native to north and central America, being present from the Atlantic slope drainages of Mexico, south through Belize (Sarstoon and Belize rivers) and Guatemala (Lago Peten basin), to the Río Ulua basin in Honduras (Conkel, 1993; Greenfield and Thomerson, 1997).

In the USA, populations of R. octofasciata have been introduced in five mainland states and in Hawaii. In California, three fish were collected in Lafayette Creek, Contra Costa County in 1986, although this is considered a failed introduction (Nico and Neilson, 2014). In Connecticut, fish have been found in major drainages (Whitworth, 1996), although the species is thought not to be established (Nico and Neilson, 2014). In Colorado, only one specimen was collected in Jackson Reservoir, which was also considered a failed introduction (Nico and Neilson, 2014). In South Dakota, R. octofasciata is established in the Fall River, Hot Springs (Nico and Neilson, 2014). R. octofasciata has been collected in canals and quarry ponds in many counties in Florida, including Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Hillsborough, Indian River, Levy, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach; a small population has also been found in the University of Florida campus in Alachua County (Courtenay et al., 1974; Hogg, 1976a, b; Courtenay and Hensley, 1979; Levine et al., 1979; Dial and Wainright, 1983; Gilmore et al., 1983; Jennings, 1986; Shafland et al., 2008; Nico and Neilson, 2014). Courtenay et al. (1974) found R. octofasciata near Lantana, Palm Beach County, although the species was not collected during a later survey in 1978 (Courtenay and Hensley, 1979). A population from a rock pit in southern Levy County was eradicated in 1977 (Courtenay and Hensley, 1979; Levine et al., 1979). Due to the intermittent nature of collections, R. octofasciata has been considered as 'formerly reproducing' in Florida (Shafland et al., 2008) and, more recently, classified as “previously established, with no recent evidence for establishment” in that state (Schofield and Loftus, 2015). The species is established on the island of Oahu, Hawaii (Devick, 1991). 

In Australia, R. octofasciata was collected from the cooling ponds of a power station (Hazelwood) in Victoria in the late 1970s, although the population was not self-sustaining (Cadwallader et al., 1980). A population was discovered in early 2004 at Yamba, north coast of New South Wales, Australia (NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2014). This population is confined to an isolated flooded quarry locally known as the ‘green pool’. Three failed eradication attempts using explosives were carried out between September 2004 and June 2005. 

R. octofasciata is well established in Lake Staraya Kuban, Krasnodar, Russia and has been present at this location since at least the 1980s (Pashkov and Zworykin, 2009; Zworykin and Pashkov, 2010). Lake Staraya Kuban is an oxbow lake of the Kuban River and is used as a cooling water body of the “Krasnodar Thermal and Electric Power Plant”. The species occupies areas of the lake with water temperatures up to 26°C (Pashkov and Zworykin, 2009). 

R. octofasciata has also been introduced to Asia, namely the Philippines (BFAR, 2006) and Thailand (Nico et al., 2007; Froese and Pauly, 2014).  

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

PhilippinesPresentIntroducedBFAR, 2006
ThailandPresentIntroduced1950sNico et al., 2007

North America

MexicoWidespreadNative Not invasive Conkel, 1993; Greenfield and Thomerson, 1997Atlantic slope drainages in Middle America from Río Paso San Juan, Veracruz
USAPresentIntroducedBased on regional distribution
-CaliforniaAbsent, formerly presentIntroduced Not invasive Nico and Neilson, 2014Collected in Lafayette Creek, Contra Costa County, in 1986; considered a failed introduction
-ColoradoAbsent, formerly presentIntroduced Not invasive Nico and Neilson, 2014One specimen collected in Jackson Reservoir; considered a failed introduction
-ConnecticutPresentIntroduced Not invasive Whitworth, 1996; Nico and Neilson, 2014Collected from major drainages, although the species is thought not to be established
-FloridaPresentIntroducedHogg, 1976a; Hogg, 1976b; Courtenay et al., 1974; Courtenay and Hensley, 1979; Levine et al., 1979; Dial and Wainright, 1983; Gilmore et al., 1983; Jennings, 1986; Shafland et al., 2008; Nico and Neilson, 2014Collected in Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Hillsborough, Indian River, Levy, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Extirpated in Alachua, current status of other populations unknown. Considered “formerly reproducing” in Florida
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedDevick, 1991Established in Oahu island
-South DakotaPresentIntroducedNico and Neilson, 2014Fall River in Hot Springs

Central America and Caribbean

BelizeWidespreadNative Not invasive Conkel, 1993; Greenfield and Thomerson, 1997Sarstoon and Belize rivers
GuatemalaWidespreadNative Not invasive Conkel, 1993; Greenfield and Thomerson, 1997Lago Peten basin
HondurasWidespreadNative Not invasive Conkel, 1993; Greenfield and Thomerson, 1997From the north to Río Ulua basin

Europe

Russian FederationLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Based on regional distribution
-Southern RussiaLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Pashkov and Zworykin, 2009; Zworykin and Pashkov, 2010Lake Staraya Kuban, Krasnodar (lake warmed by thermal effluent from power station)

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Based on regional distribution
-New South WalesLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2014Isolated population in flooded quarry at Yamba
-VictoriaAbsent, formerly presentIntroduced Not invasive Cadwallader et al., 1980Collected from the cooling ponds of Hazelwood power station in the 1970s

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
USA Central America 1960s Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Froese and Pauly (2014) Initially introduced to Florida, established in other states
Australia 1970s; 2004 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Cadwallader et al. (1980); NSW Department of Primary Industries (2014)
Thailand 1950s Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Nico et al. (2007)
Russian Federation 1980s Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Pashkov and Zworykin (2009); Zworykin and Pashkov (2010) Localized population in lake warmed by thermal effluent from power station (Lake Staraya Kuban, Krasnodar)

Risk of Introduction

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There are three main factors likely to influence the risk of introduction of R. octofasciata to new environments: the popularity of the species as an ornamental fish, its rather large size and/or aggressive behaviour, and the number of naturalized introduced populations present in the wild.

The release of unwanted ornamental fishes is the most likely explanation for the presence of nonindigenous populations of R. octofasciata in Australia and elsewhere (Lintermans, 2004; Nico and Neilson, 2014). R. octofasciata is a moderately popular ornamental species (Corfield et al., 2007), which makes the potential for its release into the wild correlated with its popularity and abundance among fish hobbyists. In Australia, the species has been listed as a commercial aquarium fish species of medium importance, with up to 10,000 fish sold annually (Corfield et al., 2007).

Although R. octofasciata is a popular ornamental fish species, it is not ideal for many hobbyists due to its large size (up to 25 cm) and aggressive nature. The species will also opportunistically consume smaller fishes. Thus, it is not ideal to keep it in the standard “community” aquarium with many different, and often small, fish species. It may outgrow small aquaria, attack and/or consume other smaller aquarium fish species, which promotes its disposal.

Natural dispersal and anthropogenic translocation of introduced populations of R. octofasciata can also take place and is more likely to occur in areas with multiple, larger or widely dispersed populations. In these areas, there is a greater risk of the general public collecting, translocating and potentially re-releasing fishes.

Habitat

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Within its natural range, R. octofasciata occurs in wetlands (Froese and Pauly, 2014) and particularly slow moving waters of lower river valleys on the coastal plains (Conkel, 1993). In a tropical wetland in the Sian Káan Biosphere Reserve, Yucatán Peninsula, México, R. octofasciata occupies both temporary and permanent pool habitats, although showing a clear preference for permanent pools (Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano, 2010). A study performed in this area concluded that macrophyte coverage was important for R. octofasciata due to its positive relationship to food availability, spawning sites and protection from potential predators.

As an introduced species, R. octofasciata occurs in anthropogenically-modified mud and sand-bottomed canals and drainage ditches in Florida (Page and Burr, 1991; Obordo and Chapman, 1997), and also in rock quarries in the USA (Levine et al., 1979) and Australia (NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2014). R. octofasciata occurs in artificially heated lakes and waterbodies outside its latitudinal range, e.g. in a lake warmed by power station thermal effluents in Russia (Pashkov and Zworykin, 2009; Zworykin and Pashkov, 2010) and in Fall River, Hot Springs, South Dakota, USA (Nico and Neilson, 2014).

It appears that R. octofasciata has only established viable introduced populations in highly anthropogenically-modified habitats, such as drainage canals and rock quarries, and has not been successfully introduced to less modified habitats with stable native aquatic communities. Although the species is euryhaline (Oldfield, 2004; NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2014), it does not appear to occupy saline or brackish waters, or estuarine environments, as an introduced species.

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The diploid/haploid chromosome numbers of R. octofasciata are 48-48/24 (Kornfield, 1984).

Reproductive Biology

R. octofasciata is a biparental substrate spawner/brooder (Lee et al., 1980; Seriously Fish, 2014), which exhibits a separation of parental roles (Zworykin, 1995Zworykin et al., 1998). Typically, female R. octofasciata primarily guard the eggs until they hatch, and fry are guarded by male fish (Zworykin et al., 1998). Parental fin digging in the substrate is performed significantly more often by females than males. It has been suggested that fin digging stirs the substrate and provides small particles of food for the fry to consume. Both parents increase the frequency of fin digging significantly with an increase in fry age, particularly from 3 to 10 days (Zworykin, 1998). While R. octofasciata parents incubate eggs and guard young, they are likely to undertake aggressive behaviour towards con- and heterospecifics (Froese and Pauly, 2014). Fecundity is 500 to 800 eggs per spawning (Riehl and Baensch, 1991). Laboratory experiments researching reproductive behaviour of the species have been conducted at 25±1°C (Zworykin, 1998; Zworykin et al., 1998). In aquaria, eggs hatch in 3 days at 26.6°C and fry become free-swimming in 3 days (Texas Parks and Wildlife, 2012). R. octofasciata will reach maturity in less than a year and can undertake multiple spawning per year (Froese and Pauly, 2014). Fishes of this species with an ‘equilibrium life-history strategy’ exhibit parental care, prolonged breeding seasons and live in deeper and more stable habitats, such as slow-flowing ponds, river channels and lakes (Winemiller, 1989; Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano, 2010).

Physiology and Phenology

R. octofasciata possesses physiological adaptations and behavioural traits that may facilitate its dispersal as an introduced species. It has a relatively high tolerance to hypoxic conditions and undertakes aquatic surface respiration when exposed to extremely low oxygen concentrations (<5 mm Hg) (Obordo and Chapman, 1997). Other well developed physiological mechanisms, including a low metabolic rate and large gills relative to body size, also aid the species in hypoxic conditions (Obordo and Chapman, 1997).

Longevity

In the wild, R. octofasciata may live for 3-4 years and, in aquaria, the species is reported to live 8-15 years (Texas Parks and Wildlife, 2012).

Nutrition

R. octofasciata is an opportunistic omnivore that consumes insects, worms, crayfish, molluscs, crustaceans, small fish and filamentous algae (Mills and Vevers, 1989; NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2014).

Hinojosa-Garro et al. (2013) determined the diet of R. octofasciata from permanent and semi-permanent pools in Petenes Biosphere Reserve, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. The species was found to be principally detritivorous in permanent pools, and omnivorous in semi-permanent pools, consuming a higher proportion of terrestrial insects and arachnids in the latter habitat. At the same time, the species can be described as predominantly predatory in a creek at the University of Florida, Alachua County, Florida (Jennings, 1986).

An introduced population of R. octofasciata in Russia was found to be omnivorous, mainly consuming chironomid larvae, aerial insects, aquatic invertebrates (Trichoptera, Odonata, Coleoptera and Mollusca) and vegetable matter (sunflower seeds) (Pashkov and Zworykin, 2009).

Environmental Requirements

In the natural range of R. octofasciata (Sian Káan Biosphere Reserve, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico), fish community structure was correlated with temperature, depth, pH and macrophyte coverage, and fish abundance was negatively related to water depth (Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano, 2010). The permanent pools favoured by R. octofasciata exhibited a mean temperature of 23- 27°C in the wet season and 24°C in the dry season.

In aquarium environment, preferred water  temperature is 20-30°C, pH 6.5-8.0 and hardness 90-357 ppm (Seriously Fish, 2014). In aquaria, maintaining water quality is of the utmost importance, because R. octofasciata is susceptible to deteriorating water quality (Seriously Fish, 2014).

Shafland and Pestrak (1982) determined low temperature tolerance of non-native Floridian fishes, including R. octofasciata. The species reduced feeding at 16°C, ceased feeding at 13.2°C, lost equilibrium at 9°C and death occurred at 8°C. However, the authors emphasize that, for any given species, there are likely to be several low lethal temperatures, dependent on important criteria including acclimation temperature, cooling rate and salinity.

R. octofasciata is euryhaline and exhibits a preference for low salinities, in comparison to freshwater (Oldfield, 2004). The NSW Department of Primary Industries (2014) claims a tolerance of salinities of up to 8 ppt, although this has not been referenced or supported by data.

In a lake warmed by a power station thermal effluent in Russia, R. octofasciata occurs in water temperatures of 17-26°C,  pH 6.85-7.23, hardness 3.55-10.40 mmol/l, nitrites 0.03-1.00 mg/l, nitrates 1.01-11.11 mg/l, ammonium nitrogen 0.04-0.40 mg/l and total phosphorus 0.01-0.04 mg/l (Pashkov and Zworykin, 2009).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
45 29

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) 0.89 1.70 Optimum Natural habitat in Mexico; Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano (2010)
Conductivity (µmhos/cm) 0.54 1.47 Optimum Natural habitat in Mexico; Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano (2010)
Depth (m b.s.l.) 0.24 0.78 Optimum Natural habitat in Mexico; Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano (2010)
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 0.94 3.26 Optimum Saturation oxygen is 11.16-41.02%; Natural habitat in Mexico; Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano (2010)
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) 90 357 Optimum Aquarium preferences; Seriously Fish (2014)
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) 160.63 356.96 Optimum Conkel (1993)
Nitrate (mg/l) 0 0.03 Optimum Natural habitat in Mexico; Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano (2010)
Nitrate (mg/l) 1.01-11.11 tolerated; In Russia; Pashkov and Zworykin (2009)
Salinity (part per thousand) 0.26 0.79 Optimum Natural habitat in Mexico; Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano (2010)
Salinity (part per thousand) 0-10 tolerated; Oldfield (2004); NSW Department of Primary Industries (2014)
Water pH (pH) 7.18 8.99 Optimum Natural habitat in Mexico; Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano (2010)
Water pH (pH) 6.5 8 Optimum Aquarium preferences; Seriously Fish (2014)
Water pH (pH) 7 8 Optimum Conkel (1993)
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 23.44 27.07 Optimum Natural habitat in Mexico; Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano (2010)
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 20 30 Optimum Aquarium preferences; Seriously Fish (2014)
Water temperature (ºC temperature) <8 Harmful Shafland and Pestrak (1982)
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 22 30 Optimum Conkel (1993)

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Ascocotyle nunezae Parasite Aquatic/Adult to species Scholz et al., 1997
Bothriocephalus musculosus Parasite Aquatic/Adult to species Baer, 1937; Scholz et al., 1996
Capillaria pterophylli Parasite Aquatic/Adult to species Moravec and Gut, 1982
Crassicutis cichlasomae Parasite Aquatic/Adult to species Scholz et al., 1995; Salgado-Maldonado et al., 2005
Genarchella isabellae Parasite Aquatic/Adult to species Scholz et al., 1995
Neoechinorhynchus golvani Parasite Aquatic/Adult to species Salgado-Maldonado et al., 2005
Oligogonotylus manteri Parasite Aquatic/Adult to species Salgado-Maldonado et al., 2005
Sciadicleithrum bravohollisae Parasite Aquatic/Adult to species Salgado-Maldonado et al., 2005
Sciadicleithrum mexicanum Parasite Aquatic/Adult to species Mendoza-Franco et al., 1999

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Obordo and Chapman (1997) noted that R. octofasciata may be at an increased risk of avian predation when undertaking air-surface respiration in hypoxic conditions.

Corfield et al. (2007) listed numerous parasites that have been observed in natural and ornamental populations of R. octofasciata including: Ascocotyle nunezae (metacercaria) (Scholz et al., 1997), Bothriocephalus musculosus (Baer, 1937; Scholz et al., 1996), Crassicutis cichlasomae (Scholz et al., 1995; Salgado-Maldonado et al., 2005), Capillaria pterophylli (Moravec and Gut, 1982), Genarchella isabellae (Scholz et al., 1995), Neoechinorhynchus golvani (Salgado-Maldonado et al., 2005), Oligogonotylus manteri (Salgado-Maldonado et al., 2005), Sciadicleithrum mexicanum (Mendoza-Franco et al., 1999), S. bravohollisae (Salgado-Maldonado et al., 2005) and Spiroxys spp. (Salgado-Maldonado et al., 2005).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

The potential for natural dispersal of R. octofasciata is increased by the environmental tolerances of the species. Euryhalinity can greatly aid the natural dispersal of R. octofasciata, by promoting the utilisation of saline environments as “saline bridges” to facilitate the spread of freshwater fish species (Brown et al., 2001). High hypoxia tolerance may allow this species to readily colonize and migrate within anthropogenically-modified waterways, often associated with urban areas. Obordo and Chapman (1997) suggest that physiological adaptations of R. octofasciata to cope with low oxygen conditions enable them to colonize wetland areas, temporary ponds and other habitats that experience large diel fluctuations in oxygen concentrations.

Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano (2010) documented R. octofasciata moving between permanent and ephemeral water bodies. During the wet season, the species migrated from deeper permanent ponds to shallow ephemeral pools, only to return to the permanent refugia during the dry season. This behaviour of moving between permanent and ephemeral water bodies, and the abovementioned physiological traits, could allow R. octofasciata to readily extend its range (Corfield et al., 2007). 

While R. octofasciata possesses traits of successful introduced species and has a high adaptive potential (Pashkov and Zworykin, 2009), it has not widely dispersed in habitats where it has been introduced. For example, in Florida, it has been introduced in at least 11 counties in the 1970s-1980s (Courtenay et al., 1974; Hogg, 1976a,b; Courtenay and Hensley, 1979; Levine et al., 1979; Dial and Wainright, 1983; Gilmore et al., 1983; Jennings, 1986; Shafland et al., 2008; Nico and Neilson, 2014), with high ecological impacts predicted (Courtenay et al., 1974). However, the species did not readily disperse and populations were observed to reach comparatively small sizes or disappear altogether (Jennings, 1986).

Intentional Introduction

R. octofasciata may be intentionally introduced to aquatic habitats as an unwanted ornamental fish. This is the most likely explanation for the nonindigenous populations in Australia (Lintermans, 2004) and elsewhere.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Intentional releaseReleased ornamental fish Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2014; Nico and Neilson, 2014
Pet tradeAll introduced populations are thought to be released ornamental fish Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2014; Nico and Neilson, 2014
ResearchBiological research model Yes Yes Shafland and Pestrak, 1982

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
WaterDispersed by flooding Yes Corfield et al., 2007; Escalera-Vázquez and Zambrano, 2010

Impact: Environmental

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Impact on Biodiversity

Little information is available on the impacts of introduced populations of R. octofasciata, although generalisations can be made regarding the diet and behaviour of the species. R. octofasciata may compete with indigenous fishes for food and will opportunistically consume smaller fishes. The aggressive behaviour of R. octofasciata may displace indigenous fishes.

Texas Parks and Wildlife (2012) identified North American native sunfishes (Centrarchidae) as potential competitors of R. octofasciata. The introduced cichlid occupies a similar ecological niche as sunfishes, having similar reproduction habits (sunfishes are substrate spawners and nest builders, with males guarding the nest), trophic position (adults eat insects, larvae and small fish) and habitat (slow waters, muddy bottoms, high vegetation cover).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Economic Value

R. octofasciata is a popular ornamental fish worldwide (Lintermans, 2004; Corfield et al., 2007). In Australia, Corfield et al. (2007) listed this species as of “medium” importance as an ornamental fish, with a volume of up to 10,000 fish sold annually.

Social Benefit

R. octofasciata is used as a biological research model in many disciplines, e.g. behavioural research (e.g. Zworykin et al., 1998).

Uses List

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General

  • Aquaria fish
  • Pet/aquarium trade
  • Research model

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Cichlids (Cichlidae family) are superficially similar to North American native species from the Centrarchidae family, such as sunfishes (Lepomis) and black basses (Micropterus), and may therefore be confused with these in this region. Cichlids can be distinguished from centrarchids by a single nostril opening on each side of the head (two openings in centrarchids) and the presence of a discontinuous or two-part lateral line (continuous line in centrarchids) (Page and Burr, 1991).

The genus Rocio currently contains three species: R. octofasciata, R. ocotal (endemic to Laguna Ocotal, an isolated highland water body in the Lacantún-Usumacinta drainage, Chiapas state, Mexico) and R. gemmata (known only from a handful of cenotes and small inland lakes in northern Quintana Roo state, eastern Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico) (Schmitter-Soto, 2007). R. octofasciata is told apart from these congeners by the following combination of characters: pelvic fins almost always reaching anal-fin origin; distally one scale row between longest dorsal-fin rays; dentary pores always 4; total gill-rakers on first arch 9-12; lateral blotch squarish; no pored scales on caudal-fin, other than one or two on extended lateral line; abdomen not reddish in life; maxilla reaching only a horizontal line from inferiormost rim of orbit, rather than a vertical line from anteriormost rim of orbit; orbital diameter 21-25% of head length and less than 80% of snout length; cheek-scale rows modally 6 (4-7); scales from vent to interpelvic scale 10-13; dorsal and anal fins usually bearing filaments; spots on side of body smaller than scales and aligned in c. 15 regular series (Schmitter-Soto, 2007).

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

Public awareness

Documents/identification guides have been created by the New South Wales Government, Australia, to educate the general public about introduced fish species (e.g. NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2014).

Eradication

An isolated population formerly present at a rock pit in southern Levy County, Florida, was eradicated in 1977 (Courtenay and Hensley, 1979; Levine et al., 1979). Three attempts carried out between September 2004 and June 2005, using explosives to eradicate an isolated population of R. octofasciata at Yamba, Australia, have failed (NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2014).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Although R. octofasciata is a popular ornamental species, with nonindigenous populations occurring in a number of countries, little research has been conducted on its potential ecological impacts upon introduction. This needs to be more closely examined.

References

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Baer JG, 1937. [English title not available]. (Un cestode nouveau parasite d’un poisson d’ornement). Bulletin de la Societé Nationale d’Acclimatation de France, 84:168-173

BFAR, 2006. List of ornamental fish species introduced to the Philippines through NAIA. Quezon, Philippines: Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

Brown, J. A., Moore, W. M., Quabius, E. S., 2001. Physiological effects of saline waters on zander. Journal of Fish Biology, 59(6), 1544-1555. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2001.tb00219.x

Cadwallader PL, Backhouse GN, Fallu R, 1980. Occurence of exotic tropical fish in the cooling pondage of a power station in temperate south-eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 31(4):541-546.

Conkel D, 1993. Cichlids of North and Central America. Hants, UK: TFH Publications, 192 pp

Corfield, J., Diggles, B., Jubb, C., McDowall, R. M., Moore, A., Richards, A., Rowe, D. K., 2007. Review of the impacts of introduced aquarium fish species that have established wild populations in Australia. In: Review of the impacts of introduced aquarium fish species that have established wild populations in Australia : Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources.

Courtenay, W. R., Jr., Hensley, D. A., 1979. Survey of introduced non-native fishes. Phase I Report. Introduced exotic fishes in North America: status 1979. In: Report Submitted to National Fishery Research Laboratory, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gainesville, FL

Courtenay, W. R., Jr., Sahlman, H. F., Miley, W. M., 1974. Exotic Fishes in Fresh and Brackish Waters of Florida. Biological Conservation, 6, 292-302.

Devick WS, 1991. Disturbances and fluctuations in the Wahiawa Reservoir ecosystem. Project F-14-R-15, job 4, study I. Honolulu, USA: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources

Dial RS, Wainright SC, 1983. New distributional records for non-native fishes in Florida. Florida Scientist, 46(1):8-15

Escalera-Vázquez, L. H., Zambrano, L., 2010. The effect of seasonal variation in abiotic factors on fish community structure in temporary and permanent pools in a tropical wetland. Freshwater Biology, 55(12), 2557-2569. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2427 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02486.x

Froese R, Pauly D, 2014. Rocio octofasciata. FishBase. http://www.fishbase.org

Gilmore RG, Hastings PA, Herrema DJ, 1983. Ichthyofaunal additions to the Indian River Lagoon and adjacent waters, east-central Florida. Florida Scientist, 46:22-30

Greenfield DW, Thomerson JE, 1997. Fishes of the continental waters of Belize. Gainesville, USA: University Press of Florida, 311 pp.

Hinojosa-Garro D, Arceo-Gómez J, Zambrano L, Escalera-Vázquez LH, 2013. Fish diet composition in permanent and semi-permanent pools in tropical wetlands of the Yucatan Peninsula. Journal of Fish Biology, 11(4):881-890.

Hogg, R. G., 1976a. Ecology of fishes of the family Cichlidae introduced into the fresh waters of Dade county, Florida. University of Miami. 142 pp.

Hogg, R. G., 1976b. Established exotic cichlid fishes in Dade county, Florida. Florida Scientist, 39(2), 97-103.

Hulsey CD, Keck BP, Hollingsworth PR, 2011. Species tree estimation and the historical biogeography of heroine cichlids. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 58(1), 124-131.

Jennings DP, 1986. Characterization of a localized Jack Dempsey, Cichlasoma octofasciatum, population in Alachua County, Florida. Florida Scientist, 49(4):255-259

Kornfield, I, 1984. Descriptive genetics of cichlid fishes. In: Evolutionary genetics of fishes, [ed. by Turner BJ]. New York, USA: Plenum Publishing Corporation. 591-616.

Lee, D. S., Gilbert, C. R., Hocutt, C. H., Jenkins, R. E., McAllister, D. E., Stauffer, J. R., Jr., 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. In: Atlas of North American freshwater fishes : North Carolina State Museum of Natural History.

Levine DS, Krummrich JT, Shafland PL, 1979. Renovation of a borrow pit in Levy County, Florida, containing Jack Dempseys (Cichlasoma octofasciatum). Boca Raton, USA: Non-native Fish Research Laboratory, Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission

Lintermans, M., 2004. Human-assisted dispersal of alien freshwater fish in Australia. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 38, 481-501.

Mendoza-Franco, E. F., Scholz, T., Vivas-Rodríguez, C., Vargas-Vázquez, J., 1999. Monogeneans of freshwater fishes from cenotes (sinkholes) of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Folia Parasitologica, 46(4), 267-273.

Mills D, Vevers G, 1989. The Tetra encyclopedia of freshwater tropical aquarium fishes. New Jersey, USA: Tetra Press, 208 pp

Moravec, F., Gut, J., 1982. Morphology of the nematode Capillaria pterophylli Heinze, 1933, a pathogenic parasite of some aquarium fishes. Folia Parasitologica, 29(3), 227-231.

Nico L, Neilson M, 2014. Cichlasoma octofasciata. US Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, USA. https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=448

Nico, L. G., Beamish, W. H., Musikasinthorn, P., 2007. Discovery of the invasive Mayan Cichlid fish "Cichlasoma" urophthalmus (Günther 1862) in Thailand, with comments on other introductions and potential impacts. Aquatic Invasions, 2(3), 197-214. http://www.aquaticinvasions.ru/2007/AI_2007_2_3_Nico_etal.pdf doi: 10.3391/ai.2007.2.3.7

NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2014. Jack Dempsey cichlid. Pests and diseases - freshwater pest fish. Orange, Australia: Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales Government. http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/pests-diseases/freshwater-pests/species/jack-dempsey

Obordo CO, Chapman LJ, 1997. Respiratory strategies of a non-native Florida cichlid, Cichlasoma octofasciatum. Florida Scientist, 60(1):40-52

Oldfield RG, 2004. Saltwater cichlids. Knowledge of salinity tolerance and preference may allow new species combinations and improved husbandry in aquaria. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, 27(8):98-104.

Page, L. M., Burr, B. M., 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico, Houghton Mifflin Company.432 pp.

Pashkov AN, Zworykin DD, 2009. Some morphoecological specific features of cichlasomine Rocio octofasciata (Perciformes, Cichlidae) from the population in Lake Staraya Kuban. Journal of Ichthyology, 49(5), 383-389. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1134/S003294520905004X

Practical Fishkeeping, 2014. Blue Jack Dempsey, Rocio octofasciata. https://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/features/articles/blue-jack-dempsey-rocio-octofasciata

Regan CT, 1903. [English title not available]. (Descriptions de poissons nouveaux faisant partie de la collection du Musée d'Histoire Naturelle de Genève). Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 11:413-418

Riehl R, Baensch HA, 1991. Aquarium Atlas, Volume 1. (Aquarien Atlas, Band 1). Melle, Germany: Mergus Verlag, 992 pp

Salgado-Maldonado, G., Aguilar-Aguilar, R., Cabañas-Carranza, G., Soto-Galera, E., Mendoza-Palmero, C., 2005. Helminth parasites in freshwater fish from the Papaloapan river basin, Mexico. Parasitology Research, 96(2), 69-89. http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100447 doi: 10.1007/s00436-005-1315-9

Schmitter-Soto JJ, 2007. A systematic revision of the genus Archocentrus (Perciformes: Cichlidae), with the description of two new genera and six new species. Zootaxa, 1603:1-78

Schofield, P. J., Loftus, W. F., 2015. Non-native fishes in Florida freshwaters: a literature review and synthesis. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 25(1), 117-145. http://rd.springer.com/journal/11160 doi: 10.1007/s11160-014-9373-7

Scholz, T., Vargas-Vázquez, J., Moravec, F., 1996. Bothriocephalus pearsei n. sp. (Cestoda: Pseudophyllidea) from cenote fishes of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Journal of Parasitology, 82(5), 801-805. doi: 10.2307/3283894

Scholz, T., Vargas-Vázquez, J., Moravec, F., Vivas-Rodríguez, C., Mendoza-Franco, E., 1995. Cenotes (sinkholes) of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, as a habitat of adult trematodes of fish. Folia Parasitologica, 42(1), 37-47.

Scholz, T., Vargas-Vázquez, J., Vidal-Martínez, V. M., Aguirre-Macedo, L., 1997. Ascocotyle (A.) nunezae n. sp. (Digenea: Heterophyidae) from Yucatan, Mexico. Journal of Parasitology, 83(1), 141-147. doi: 10.2307/3284333

Seriously Fish, 2014. Rocio octofasciata (Regan, 1903), Jack Dempsey cichlid. http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/rocio-octofasciata/

Shafland PL, Gestring KB, Stanford MS, 2008. Florida's exotic freshwater fishes - 2007. Florida Scientist, 71(3):220-245

Shafland PL, Pestrak JM, 1982. Lower lethal temperatures for fourteen non-native fishes in Florida. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 7(2):149-156.

Texas Parks and Wildlife, 2012. Freshwater aquarium hobbyists and invasive species in the Houston-Galveston region. Final Project Report, Federal Aid Grant No. T-8. Spring, USA: Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC). http://www.harc.edu/publication/695

Whitworth WR, 1996. Freshwater fishes of Connecticut. State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection. Volume 114 of Bulletin, 243 pp

Winemiller, K. O., 1989. Patterns of variation in life history among South American fishes in seasonal environments. Oecologia, 81, 225-241.

Zvorykin, D. D., 1995. Male and female parental investment in Cichlasoma octofasciatum (Cichlidae). Journal of Ichthyology, 35(9), 135-141.

Zworykin DD, 1998. Parental fin digging by Cichlasoma octofasciatum (Teleostei: Cichlidae) and the effect of parents' satiation state on brood provisioning. Ethology, 104(9), 771-779. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1439-0310.1998.tb00110.x

Zworykin DD, Budaev SV, Mochek AD, 1998. Alternative tactics of male compensatory behaviour during parental care in Chichlasoma octofasciatum (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, 31(3), 185-191. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10236249809387072

Zworykin, D. D., Pashkov, A. N., 2010. Eight-striped cichlasoma - an allochthonous species of cichlid fish (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from Staraya Kuban Lake. Russian Journal of Biological Invasions, 1(1), 5-13. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1134%2FS2075111710010017

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Catalog of fishes - California Academy of Scienceshttp://researcharchive.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/fishcatmain.asp
Fishbasehttp://www.fishbase.org/
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
NSW Government – Department of Primary Industrieshttps://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/pests-diseases/freshwater-pests
USGS – Nonindigenous Aquatic Specieshttp://nas.er.usgs.gov/

Principal Source

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Contributors

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21/11/14 Original text by:

Mark Maddern, School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

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