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.

Parachromis dovii
Parachromis dovii
(wolf cichlid)

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Parachromis dovii (Günther, 1864)

Common name: wolf cichlid

Synonyms and Other Names: Heros dovii Günther 1864, Cichlasoma dovii (Günther 1864), Nandopsis dovii (Günther 1864); Dow's cichlid, guapote, guapote blanco, lagunero.

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: In general, cichlids (Cichlidae) are superficially similar to sunfishes and black basses (Lepomis and Micropterus; family Centrarchidae). Cichlids can be distinguished from centrarchids by a single nostril opening on each side of the head (vs. two in centrarchids) and the presence of a discontinuous or two-part lateral line (vs. a continuous in centrarchids).

An identification key, description, and color photograph are provided by Bussing (1987)

Size: to 50 cm SL (Kullander 2003)

Native Range: The Wolf Cichlid is native to Central America including the Atlantic slope, from the Aguan River (Honduras) to the Moín River (Costa Rica); and the Pacific slope, from the Yeguare River (Honduras) to the Bebedero River (Costa Rica) (Glaser et al. 1996; Kullander 2003; Froese and Pauly, 2012).

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 Parachromis dovii are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
PR200920091Eastern Puerto Rico

Table last updated 9/30/2023

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: The Wolf Cichlid inhabits lakes but also thrives in various lower and middle river valleys. It prefers tropical temperatures of 21–37 °C (Froese and Pauly, 2012). This species is an avid cavern digger.  Parachromis dovii, similar to other guapotes, is highly piscivorous, consuming characins, other cichlids, and poecilids, with aquatic invertebrates comprising a smaller portion of the diet, primarily in juveniles (Bussing 1987).  It is considered to have medium fecundity with a minimum population doubling time of 1.4–4.4 years (Froese and Pauly, 2012).

Means of Introduction: Aquarium release.

Status: Established in Loiza Reservoir in eastern Puerto Rico since at least 2009.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: This species is also introduced in El Salvador (McMahan et al. 2013)

References: (click for full references)

Bussing, W.A. 1987. Peces de las aguas continentales de Costa Rica. Editorial la Universidad de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica.

Glaser, U., F. Schafer, and W. Glaser. 1996. South American Cichlids III. Aqualog, Verlag ACS GmbH, Mörfelden-Walldorf, Germany.

Kullander, S.O. 2003. Family Cichlidae (Cichlids). Pages 605-654 in Reis, R.E., S.O. Kullander, and C.J. Ferraris, Jr, eds. Check list of the freshwater fishes of South and Central America. EDIPUCRS. Porto Alegre, Brazil.

McMahan, C.D., W.A. Matamoros, F.S. Álvarez Calderón, W.Y. Henríquez, H.M. Recinos, P. Chakrabarty, E. Barraza, and N. Herrera. 2013. Checklist of the inland fishes of El Salvador. Zootaxa 3608(3):440-456. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3608.6.2

Author: Matthew Neilson, and Pam Fuller

Revision Date: 3/31/2020

Peer Review Date: 8/6/2013

Citation Information:
Matthew Neilson, and Pam Fuller, 2023, Parachromis dovii (Günther, 1864): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=2809, Revision Date: 3/31/2020, Peer Review Date: 8/6/2013, Access Date: 9/30/2023

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. [2023]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [9/30/2023].

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