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.

Geophagus brasiliensis
(pearl eartheater)
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Geophagus brasiliensis (Quoy and Gaimard, 1824)

Common name: pearl eartheater

Synonyms and Other Names: pearl cichlid

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: A few distinguishing characteristics were provided in Sterba (1973). A key and distinguishing characteristics, in Portuguese, were also presented by Britski et al. (1984). Color photographs appeared in Loiselle (1980b), Axelrod et al. (1985), and Axelrod (1993).

Size: 30 cm SL (Loiselle 1980).

Native Range: Tropical America. Widely distributed in rivers along the Atlantic Coast of Brazil from Bahia State to mouth of Río de la Plata, Argentina (Axelrod 1993), including Rio São Francisco (Britski et al. 1984).

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Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Means of Introduction: Probable fish-farm escape.

Status: Reported from Florida.

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: The first Geophagus to enter the aquarium trade, this species has been widely available and bred commercially in Florida (Loiselle 1980b). Captive fish can tolerate temperatures as low as 13°C briefly (Loiselle 1980b). Given the taxonomic confusion associated with the genus Geophagus, there is some doubt about correct identification of the Florida specimen (Smith-Vaniz, personal communication).

References: (click for full references)

Axelrod, H. R. 1993. The most complete colored lexicon of cichlids. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Axelrod, H. R., W. E. Burgess, N. Pronek, and J. G. Walls. 1985. Dr. Axelrod's atlas of freshwater aquarium fishes. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Britski, H. A., Y. Sato, and A. B. S. Rosa. 1984. Manual de identificação de peixes da região de Tres Marias (com chaves de identificação para os peixes da Bacia do São Francisco). Camara dos Deputados and Companhia de Desenvolvimento do Vale do São Francisco (CODEVASF), Brasília, Brasil. 143 pp.

Courtenay, W. R., Jr., and D. A. Hensley. 1979a. 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., H. F. Sahlman, W. W. Miley, II, and D. J. Herrema. 1974. Exotic fishes in fresh and brackish waters of Florida. Biological Conservation 6(4):292-302.

Loiselle, P. V. 1980. South American eartheaters Geophagus the genus and its allies. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium 3(6)(June):23-29, 86-87, 89-90.

Smith-Vaniz, W. F., J. D. Williams, L. G. Nico, and W. Loftus. Key to the cichlid fishes of Florida. Unpublished mimeograph (in prep).

Sterba, G. 1973. Freshwater fishes of the world. English translation and revision from German. Two volumes. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

FishBase Summary

Author: Nico, L.

Revision Date: 6/3/2004

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Nico, L., 2019, Geophagus brasiliensis (Quoy and Gaimard, 1824): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=454, Revision Date: 6/3/2004, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 1/22/2019

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.

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, October 24, 2018


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. [2019]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [1/22/2019].

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