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Species Spotlight: Butterfly Peacock Bass

Of the three species of peacock bass found in Amazônia, the butterfly (Cichla ocellaris) is by far the most attractive.

peacock butterfly

Also known as pavón mariposa, pavón amarillo, marichapa or pavón tres estrellas, and tucunare, the butterfly is yellowish green in color with three dark yellow-fringed eyespots along the lateral midsection.


These spots tend to fade in brightness as the fish gets older and bigger. The iris of the eye is bright to blood red in color. The butterfly can reach weights of upwards of close to 13 pounds and lengths of 29 inches.


It is native to Brazil but, because of its aggressive nature and value as a trophy fish, has been introduced to Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico, Kenya, Guam, the Dominican Republic, and Panama.
Butterflies are most often caught on flies, jigs, and top water lures such as woodchoppers.


Like the other species of peacock found in Amazônia, the butterfly is not a bass. Rather, it is a member of the Cichlid family.