Two-pound fish are consi.dered large. The IGFA record caught in Florida was an exceptional fish reported to weigh 3.5 lbs; oscars caught in the Everglades average 10 inches and 3/4th of a pound; biologists do not know how long oscars typically live.
Dispersal northward in Florida appears to be restricted by temperature. A 1982 Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission study determined the mean lower lethal temperature for this species is 12.9 C. In its native range, the oscar is valued by artisanal fishers as a food fish.
Distinctive FeaturesThe oscar is a large, somewhat stocky cichlid with an oval shaped body, a large head, large eyes, and a large mouth. The first dorsal fin is spinous; the second is composed of soft rays and has a rounded shape. The anal fin is spinous anteriorly and also possesses a rounded edge. Both the base of the soft dorsal and anal fins are scaled.
DentitionLike all cichlids, oscars possess teeth not only in their jaws but a set of pharyngeal teeth as well. Teeth in the jaws are small and used for grasping while those in the throat (the pharyngeal teeth) manipulate and process prey items.The type and arrangement of teeth on the pharyngeal jaw plates are one of many important characters useful to systematists in deciphering the evolutionary relationships of cichlids and much study on this important feature has been published.
Food HabitsThe natural diet of oscars consists largely of smaller fishes, crustaceans, gastropods, and aquatic insects or insect larvae. Although oscars are generally sluggish or inactive, they are capable of ambushing and capturing fleeing prey over short distances. Oscars in captivity exhibit voracious, somewhat indiscriminate feeding habits.
PredatorsOscars rely on their cryptic coloration and eyespots to elude or confuse predators. Generally sluggish, oscars are capable of swimming away quite rapidly over short distances. Nonetheless, all age classes of oscars are susceptible to a suite of predators including invertebrates, fishes, wading birds and reptiles. 59ce067264