Phillip, Dawn A. T., Taphorn, Donald C., Holm, Erling, Gilliam, James F., Lamphere, Bradley A. & López-Fernández, Hernán, 2013, Annotated list and key to the stream fishes of Trinidad & Tobago, Zootaxa 3711 (1), pp. 1-64: 22-25

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Centropomus  spp  . [snook]

There are several species of “snook” in the region; they can be identified using the FAO key  available on the Internet (Orrell, 2011). Coastal in marine, estuarine and fresh waters; juveniles common in lower parts of streams. Carnivore. 362–1500 mm.


Andinoacara pulcher (Gill 1858)  [coscorob, green coscorob, blue coscorob, small coscorob, coscie, blue acara]

Clear or turbid, stagnant or free-flowing water (Kenny 1995). Widely distributed throughout streams in Trinidad (Kenny 1995), including mid-north-coast streams (Phillip 1998). Native. Males and females guard prepared benthic nest (Mills & Vevers 1989). Omnivore (Winemiller 1992). 160 mm.

Those cichlids commonly known as blue acaras were recently removed from Aequidens  and placed in the new genus Andinoacara  by Musilová et al. (2009).

Cichlasoma taenia (Bennett 1831)  [brown coscorob, large coscorob, red-eye]

Clear or turbid water in swamps, free-flowing and sluggish streams (Kenny 1995). Widely distributed throughout Trinidad (Kenny 1995, Phillip 1998), including streams in the middle of the north coast (Kenny 1995). Native. Brief spawning period coinciding with the dry season (Ponton & de Mérona 1998), both parents guard prepared benthic nest. Carnivore. 220 mm.

Crenicichla frenata Gill 1858  [matawal, millet, pike cichlid]

Clear to slightly turbid, preferably free-flowing, streams (Kenny 1995). Widely distributed in Trinidadian streams south of the Northern Range divide (Kenny 1995, Phillip 1998), but does not appear to overlap with C. saxatilis  . Native. Male guards nests on benthos or in vegetation such as hollow bamboo stems. Carnivore. 130 mm.

Often referred to in the literature on Trinidad fishes as Crenicichla alta  , a species not known from Trinidad. This is a result of the confusing taxonomic state of the so-called Crenicichla  " saxatilis  group " (e.g., Kullander 1986; Ploeg 1991). One of the main characters given by Gill to distinguish C. frenata  is the presence of a humeral spot bisected by the upper lateral line. However, we have found that this character varies broadly, with the humeral spot clearly bisected by the lateral line in some individuals, but not in others captured simultaneously. In a few cases we also noticed individual variation in this character, i.e., the same individual would have the humeral spot bisected by the lateral line on one side, but below the lateral line on the other side of the body. While Gill’s original description approximately fits the specimens we have observed, we find that the more vivid colouration (i.e., blotchy lateral band, silvery spotting on the sides of the body, strong sexual dimorphism with breeding females bearing a pink or reddish belly) in the southern slopes of the Northern Range may be a more reliable character for identification.

Crenicichla saxatilis (Linnaeus 1758)  [matawal, millet, pike cichlid]

Clear and turbid, free-flowing streams. Found in some western (Phillip 1998) and southern drainages of Trinidad. Native. Extended spawning during wet and dry seasons (Ponton & de Mérona 1998); parents guard a nest on benthos or in vegetation such as hollow bamboo stems. Carnivore. 220 mm.

The identity of so-called C. saxatilis  from Trinidad needs further study, as C. saxatilis  is a widely spread species in South America, and likely a species complex (e.g., see Kullander 1986, Ploeg 1991). The situation in Trinidad is not clear because, unlike Gill’s (1858) description of C. frenata  , the description provided by Regan (1905) for C. saxatilis  reads as though it might have been based on a mixture of specimens of the two forms. In general, specimens referred to as C. saxatilis  are much more sparsely coloured, especially in the absence of an obvious lateral band, and are usually found in western and southern stream drainages that do not overlap with those of the Northern Range where C. frenata  is found.

Oreochromis mossambicus (Peters 1852)  and Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus 1758)  [black tilapia, Mozambique tilapia, silver tilapia, Nile tilapia]

Several species of African tilapias are commonly used in aquaculture and some of them may easily hybridise, thus the identity of some of them may not be easily established. Tilapias commonly escape from aquaculture facilities, and an enormous tolerance for varied environmental conditions facilitates their establishment and dispersal. In Trinidad, they are found in reservoirs and brackish swamps draining the southwestern peninsula and west coasts (Kenny 1995; Phillip 1998); also found in Tobago (Phillip 1998). Introduced. Males build nests; parents mouth brood. Tilapia species are generalist feeders that can eat almost anything available, but often prefer a detritus and vegetable diet. 400–600 mm depending on the species.


Agonostomus monticola (Bancroft 1834)  [mountain mullet]

Adults in clear, fast-flowing, freshwater streams (Kenny 1995); young occasionally in brackish waters. Coastal streams draining the Northern Range (Kenny 1995; Phillip 1998) and Tobago (Phillip 1998); populations from high-elevation streams draining the southern slopes of the Northern Range up to the 1950 s have now been lost, perhaps due to habitat alteration (Kenny 1995). Native. Single, clearly-defined breeding period in the rainy season (Cruz 1987, Phillip 1993), with evidence of total spawning (Phillip 1993); catadromous (Cruz 1987), postlarvae have been found at sea (Anderson 1957). Omnivore (Phillip 1993). 360 mm.

Mugil  spp  . [mullet]

There are several species of sea mullet that can be identified using Harrison (2002). Generally catadromous; coastal, marine, estuarine and brackish waters. Herbivore/omnivore/detritivore. 300–1000 mm.


Polycentrus schomburgkii Müller & Troschel 1849  [king coscorob, black coscorob, leaf fish]

Clear to turbid, fresh or brackish water streams, swamps, and lagoons (Kenny 1995). Found in low-lying areas south of the Northern Range divide, Trinidad, including the Pitch Lake (Kenny 1995, Phillip 1998). Native. Spawns all year (Ponton & de Mérona 1998); spawns on structures overhanging the water; male tends to the developing eggs (Barlow 1967). Carnivore (Mills & Vevers 1989). 100 mm.


Dormitator maculatus (Bloch 1792)  [sleeper]

Fresh and brackish waters (amphidromous) (Teixeira 1994, Teixeira Bonecker et al. 2009), static or slowmoving waters, e.g., marshes, ponds and mangroves; turbid, standing water, edges of swamps (Kenny 1995). Lower reaches of streams south of the Northern Range divide (Kenny 1995). Native. Peak spawning occurs in the wet season (Teixeira 1994); attached, sticky eggs are fanned. Omnivore (Nordie 1981, Teixeira 1994). 600 mm.

Eleotris amblyopsis (Cope 1871)  [large-scaled spiny-cheek sleeper]

Fresh and brackish water in the lower courses of streams and estuaries. Native. Amphidromous. Year-round spawning (Ponton & de Mérona 1998). Omnivore (Nordie 1981). 100 mm.

Eleotris pisonis (Gmelin 1789)  [spiny-cheek sleeper]

Fresh and brackish water (Teixeira 1994) in the lower courses of streams and estuaries; clear and turbid, freeflowing and standing waters (Kenny 1995). Stream mouths, penetrating to low elevations in streams throughout Trinidad (Kenny 1995) and in Tobago (Phillip 1998). Native. Peak spawning in the wet season (Teixeira 1994); amphidromous reproduction: hatched larvae have a marine phase of a few weeks. Carnivore (Teixeira 1994; Pezold & Cage 2002), omnivore (Nordie 1981). 250 mm.

Gobiomorus dormitor Lacepède 1800  [giant goby, sand guabine, guabine]

Fresh and brackish water of streams and estuaries; occurs farther inland than Eleotris pisonis  . Found in larger coastal streams draining Northern Range, Trinidad (Kenny 1995, Phillip 1998), as well as small coastal streams in the northwestern peninsula and throughout Tobago (Phillip 1998). Native. Amphidromous reproduction: hatched larvae have a marine phase of a few weeks. Carnivore. 600 mm.

Guavina  guavina  (Valenciennes 1837) [No known local name]

Fresh and brackish water. Amphidromous reproduction: hatched larvae have a marine phase of a few weeks. Carnivore (Teixeira 1994). 230 mm.


Awaous banana (Valenciennes 1837)  [river goby, sand fish]

Free-flowing riffles and pools in clear streams, often on sandy substrates (Kenny 1995); also in turbid streams. Tobago (Phillip 1998), and coastal streams of Nothern Range, Trinidad (Kenny 1995); occasionally in the southern slopes of the Northern Range (Kenny 1995). Native. Amphidromous reproduction: hatched larvae have a marine phase of a few weeks. Omnivore/carnivore. 300mm.

The distribution and taxonomy of the species of Awaous  in Venezuela were recently treated by Lasso-Alcala & Lasso (2008). This species was previously identified as A. taiasica  or A. tajasica  ( Lichtenstein 1822) (Boeseman 1960, Kenny 1995, Phillip & Ramnarine 2001).

Awaous flavus (Valenciennes 1837)  [goby, sand fish]

Occurs from Colombia, all along the north coast of South America, to the Amazon River Delta, in fresh to moderately saline waters of muddy estuarine beaches, main river channels, tidal mangrove and coastal streams, usually on substrates of mud or mud and sand (Lasso-Alcala & Lasso 2008). Native. Amphidromous. Spawning migrations suspected but not well documented in Orinoco River Delta (Lasso-Alcala & Lasso 2008). Omnivore/ carnivore. Smaller than A. banana  , often around 44 mm SL, but reaching 77 mm.

The distribution and taxonomy of the species of Awaous  were recently treated by Lasso-Alcala & Lasso (2008) who reported that this species is mostly estuarine or marine but can be found in fresh water and has been reported from the Orinoco River Delta. It was misidentified as Gobionellus  sp., or Ctenogobius  sp., by Cervigón (1982), Ponte et al. (1999) and Lasso et al. (2002), or as or Chonophorus badius (Taphorn et al. 1997)  . Commercially important to subsistence fisheries (Lasso-Alcala & Lasso 2008) and as an ornamental in Brazil (Watson & Horsthemke 1995).

Bathygobius soporator (Valenciennes 1837)  [frillfin goby]

Demersal; in marine (Baldwin & Smith 2003), estuarine, and occasionally fresh water. Benthic spawner. Carnivore (Correa & Uieda 2007). 150 mm.

Ctenogobius boleosoma  ( Jordan & Gilbert 1882) [darter goby]

Amphidromous; marine (Baldwin & Smith 2003), estuarine (Rozas et al. 2012), fresh water; coastal habitats, reefs (Baldwin & Smith 2003), lagoons. Benthic spawner. Carnivore (Correa & Uieda 2007)/detritivore (Carle & Hastings 1982). 75 mm.

Ctenogobius fasciatus Gill 1858  [blotchcheek goby]

Estuaries and lower reaches of streams. Native. Amphidromous. Carnivore/omnivore. 75 mm.

Ctenogobius pseudofasciatus (Gilbert & Randall 1971)  [slashcheek goby]

Estuaries and lower reaches of streams. Native (Pezold 2004). Amphidromous (McDowall 1977); eggs deposited on underside of submerged objects, guarded by male. Carnivore/omnivore. 70 mm.

Evorthodus lyricus (Girard 1858)  [lyre goby]

Muddy-bottomed backwaters of estuaries (Wyanski & Targett 1985) and freshwater streams. Native.

Amphidromous; pronounced sexual dimorphism (Foster & Fuiman 1987); seasonal breeding (Wyanski & Targett 1985); males excavate a covered, cave-like burrow; eggs attached to underside of cover items and guarded by males (Foster & Fuiman 1987). Omnivore (Harrington & Harrington 1961, Wyanski & Targett 1985), carnivore/ detritivore (Foster & Fuiman 1987). 150 mm.

Lophogobius cyprinoides (Pallas 1770)  [crested goby]

Tidal creeks and mangroves to lower reaches of freshwater streams. Native. Protogynous hermaphrodite (Cole 1990, Bouchereau et al. 2012); amphidromous or fully marine reproduction; main reproductive period May to July (Bouchereau et al. 2012). Omnivore (Darcy 1981, Bouchereau et al. 2012). 100 mm.

Sicydium plumieri (Bloch 1786)  [sijaro, sand shark (local name only)]

Slow to fast-moving chutes, riffles, and pools in clear, coastal streams with rocks (Lyons 2005); penetrates far inland by climbing waterfalls using mouth and pelvic sucker (Winemiller et al. 2008). Tobago and north coast, Trinidad. Native. Amphidromous reproduction: hatched larvae have a marine phase of a few weeks. Herbivore, mainly algivorous (Watson 2000). 140 mm.

Kenny (1995) believed that there is only one species of Sicydium  , S. punctatum  , on Trinidad; we have chosen to leave S. plumieri  in the list pending further investigation.

Sicydium punctatum Perugia 1896  [sand shark (local name only)]

Slow to fast-moving chutes, riffles, and pools in clear coastal streams with rocks (Lyons 2005). Found in Tobago (Phillip 1998), and throughout Trinidad, except for west coast streams (Kenny 1995); in Trinidad, penetrating far upstream in the clear, fast-flowing coastal streams of the Northern Range, but restricted to near the mouths of other streams (Kenny 1995). Native. Amphidromous reproduction: spawning occurs year-round in caves excavated below rocks (Bell 1994, Bell et al. 1995); males tend to the eggs (Bell 2009); hatched larvae drift downstream immediately (Bell 2009); marine phase is of a few weeks (Bell 1994, Bell et al. 1995). Herbivore, incidental carnivore. 100 mm.


Trichopodus trichopterus (Pallas 1770)  [three-spot gourami]

Shallow, sluggish or standing fresh water in lowland marshes, swamps and canals, also in seasonally-flooded forests; prefers habitats with a lot of aquatic vegetation. Restricted to south Oropuche drainage, Trinidad (Mohammed et al. 2010). Aquarium species introduced to the south Oropuche River system in Trinidad. Air breather (Burggren 1979). Male gathers floating eggs and guards them in surface bubble nest (Cole et al. 1999). Carnivore (Degani 1990). 150–200 mm (Axelrod et al. 1985).