Crenicichla percna Kullander, 1991
Group: Acutirostris sub-group of the Lugubris group
Distribution: Rio Xingu drainage, Brazil.
Type Locality: Rio Xingu drainage, Cachoeira do Espelho, State of Pará, Brazil
Size: 12-14 inches
Comments: This is yet another of Rio Xingu's jewels. It has been sporadically available since the early 1990s but has always commanded huge price tags. I recently acquired this species at a cost of about US $100 each! It is interesting that exporters are makining effort to ship out large adults
Unlike the more common large Xingu 1 Orange Pike, this species is highly spotted and cryptic, almost like C. jegui. Also, unlike the Orange Pike, this species is not an active swimmer, however, it has a fully developed swim bladder and is not bottom oriented or sedentary like C. jegui. When a feeder fish is introduced into the tank or if it sees a small fish in another tank, it quickly changes coloration and becomes more mottled and blotched.
It is a superb predator, reminding me of some of the giant gobies that one finds in the tropics. If a goldfish is introduced near its tail, rather than its mouth, this fish contorts and twists it body in a flash to reach its food, rather than inefficiently turning around like most other pikes, before inhaling it down. I have never seen any pike eat goldfish so efficiently!
It has a lot of medium-sized dark spots on the head and the dorsal part of the body, with three prominent black spots along the flank. A fourth spot is vaguely visible at times. Females have fewer spotting on the body. The unpaired fins are a bright red. The head of the fish is extremely pointed, which would put it in the acutirostris sub group of the lugubris group. Overall, it is a very beautiful and fascinating species. I have it housed with a target pike, C. anthurus, which spends a lot of time hiding. I also have a large Leporinus species that occupies its tank that receives a fair amount of abuse.
This fish has not been spawned in aquaria but pair bonds can be achieved if the ususal rules for lugubris pikes are followed.
Described in: Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwaters 1 (4); p 356