Peacock Bass or Lukanani fish in Guyana
Stabroek staff On January 8, 2012
Peacock Bass (Cichla ocellaris), Butterfly Peacock Bass, Waterwolf, or Lukanani is actually a cichlid, not a member of the bass family. The Lukanani is native to the Maroni and Essequibo drainages in the Guianas and the Rio Branco River in Brazil. It is sometimes confused with Tucanare Peacock Bass (Cichla monoculus) which is native to the Amazon Basin.
Lukanani inhabit warm waters of their range and can reach up to 74 cm in length. It is a predatory fish, yellow gold in colour with black triangles flanking its sides and an immediately recognizable red and black eye spot on the tail. Its aggressive behaviour and spirited nature make it a legendary game fish; tell any Guyanese angler that Lukanani arebiting and they will most likely drop everything they are doing and get out their fishing tackle. Besides, being a gamester, they are excellent to eat and are an important food resource to Amerindians as fish make up 60% of their diet.
In the Rupununi, Lukanani breed at the beginning of the rainy season, and dig out a shallow circular nest in the sand or gravel to lay their eggs. Once the eggs hatch the female guards the hatchlings from predators and will scoop the fry into her mouth to protect them. The fry grow fast and as the waters recede, the fingerlings make their way to the rivers and larger water bodies where they will take up residence under logs, rocks and other underwater cover, where they take shelter as well as ambush their prey.
Lukanani are top predators as well as prized meat and game fish. The conservation status of this fish has never been investigated; it is therefore not listed on any conservation lists. However, the demand for the species as a food fish both at subsistence and commercial levels increases the pressure on the stock. It is, therefore, essential that the species population be managed to ensure ecological balance in the waterways as well as provide the opportunities for continued promotion of sport fishing in Guyana.
Article printed from Stabroek News- January 8, 2012
Post # 1014