The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Amphilophus labiatus
Amphilophus labiatus
(red devil)

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Amphilophus labiatus (Günther, 1864)

Common name: red devil

Synonyms and Other Names: Cichlasoma labiatum (Günther, 1864); Heros labiatus Günther, 1864; mojarra picuda.

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Amphilophus labiatus is a member of the Midas cichlid species assemblage (Amphilophus spp.), a group of closely related, morphologically similar species thought to comprise a recent adaptive radiation (Barluenga and Meyer 2010). For identification see Barlow and Munsey (1976) and Villa (1976). Distinguishing characteristics and color photographs were provided by Loiselle (1980) and Conkel (1993). Photographs also appeared in Konings (1989).

Size: 24 cm SL (Conkel 1993).

Native Range: Tropical America. Great Lakes of Nicaragua: Lakes Nicaragua and Managua (Barlow and Munsey 1976; Conkel 1993).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Amphilophus labiatus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
HI199120212Maui; Oahu
NV202220221Southern Great Salt Lake Desert
PR200620242Cibuco-Guajataca; Eastern Puerto Rico
UT202120211Southern Great Salt Lake Desert

Table last updated 6/21/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: The Red Devil inhabits lakes and rarely enters rivers (Conkel, 1993). It feeds on small fish, snails, insect larvae, worms, and other bottom-dwelling organisms (Yamamoto and Tagawa, 2000). The female tends to the clutch of eggs (Froese and Pauly, 2012).

Means of Introduction: Aquarium release.

Status: Established in Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Impact of Introduction: This species has been reported to have “some adverse ecological effects” and “some undecided socio-economic effect” (Froese and Pauly, 2012).

Remarks: A fish taken from Hillsborough County, Florida, in 1976, originally was reported to be this species (Courtenay and Hensley 1979; Courtenay and Stauffer 1990), but that specimen later was re-identified tentatively as Amphilophus citrinellus (Smith-Vaniz, personal communication).

Red devil cichilds, as well as Midas cichlids (A. citrinellus) were introduced to, and are established in, Queensland, Australia in 1992 (Lintermans 2004).

References: (click for full references)

Barlow, G.W., and J.W. Munsey. 1976. The red devil-midas-arrow cichlid species complex in Nicaragua. 359-369 in T.B. Thorson, ed. Investigations of the ichthyofauna of Nicaraguan Lakes. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE.

Barluenga, M., and A. Meyer. 2010. Phylogeography, colonization and population history of the Midas cichlid species complex (Amphilophus spp.) in the Nicaraguan crater lakes. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10:326.

Conkel, D. 1993. Cichlids of North and Central America. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

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

Courtenay, W.R., Jr., and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1990. The introduced fish problem and the aquarium fish industry. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 21(3):145-159.

Devick, W.S. 1991. Disturbances and fluctuations in the Wahiawa Reservoir ecosystem. Project F-14-R-15, Job 4, Study I. Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Froese, R. and D. Pauly (eds). 2012. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. Available from: http://www.fishbase.org.  Version (08/2012).

Grana, F. 2006.  Personal communication. Puerto Rico Department of Natural & Environmental Resources. San Juan, PR.

Konings, A. 1989. Cichlids from Central America. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

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

Loiselle, P.V. 1980. The Cichlasoma labiatum species complex. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium 3(4)(April):30-35, 67.

Mundy, B.C. 2005. Checklist of fishes of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Bishop Museum Bulletin in Zoology, Number 6.

Smith-Vaniz, W. - Ichthyologist (retired), U.S. Geological Survey, Gainesville, FL.

Villa, J. 1976. Systematic status of the cichlid fishes Cichlasoma dorsatum, C. granadense and C. nigritum Meek. Pages 375-383 in T.B. Thorson, ed. Investigations of the ichthyofauna of Nicaraguan Lakes. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE.

Yamamoto, M.N. and A.W. Tagawa. 2000. Hawai'i's native and exotic freshwater animals. Mutual Publishing, Honolulu, Hawaii. 200 p.

FishBase Summary

Author: Leo Nico, Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 3/31/2020

Peer Review Date: 8/6/2013

Citation Information:
Leo Nico, Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2024, Amphilophus labiatus (Günther, 1864): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=444, Revision Date: 3/31/2020, Peer Review Date: 8/6/2013, Access Date: 6/22/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [6/22/2024].

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For general information and questions about the database, contact Wesley Daniel. For problems and technical issues, contact Matthew Neilson.