Treasure Coast and Central Florida Fish Slams- 2019

Science Center Objects

In March and June 2019, USGS researchers joined partners in Treasure Coast and Central Florida where they sampled freshwater bodies for non-native fishes. The bi-annual Fish Slam event helps monitor new introductions and document range expansion of known non-native fishes. 

March 26-27 and June 5-6, 2019 – Thirty-five fishery biologists from 10 organizations participated in two two-day Fish Slam events on the Treasure Coast (Indian River, St. Lucie counties) and Central Florida (Orange, Seminole counties) areas. The Fish Slam participants sampled freshwater bodies for non-native fish at 17 sites on the Treasure Coast in March and 22 sites in Central Florida in June. Sampling gear included electrofishing boats, backpack electrofishers, minnow traps, cast nets, seines, dipnets, and hook and line. Fifteen species of non-native fishes were collected or observed. These are the northernmost Fish Slam events since the program began in 2013. For general information on Fish Slam events, please see the webpage for the Florida Non-native Fish Action Alliance.

Fish Slam 2019 sampling locations

Fish Slam sample locations

(Public domain.)


Treasure Coast

The Treasure Coast Fish Slam event included sites that fell on the northern range of many of the non-native fish species in South Florida. Two species of platyfish, Xiphophorus, were collected that have not been recorded from the area since the 1970s.


Central Florida

The Central Florida event focused on urban lakes, ponds, and streams that are infrequently sampled for non-native fishes. Seven adult koi Cyprinus carpio were collected from Starke Lake in Orange County. No juvenile koi or fish with wild-type color patterns were collected or observed, leading us to believe that the population was not reproducing. African jewelfish, Hemichromis letourneuxi, were also collected from Starke Lake, which represents the northernmost collection of this species in Florida.


Data from these collections are available in the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database. All 88 field observations of non-native species were entered into the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database.


Non-native fishes collected or observed during Fish Slams 2019
Scientific Name Common Name Treasure Coast Central Florida
Dorosoma petenense threadfin shad   x
Cyprinus carpio koi   x
Hoplosternum littorale brown hoplo x x
Pterygoplichthys spp. sailfin catfish x x
Clarias batrachus walking catfish x x
Xiphophorus helleri green swordtail x  
Xiphophorus maculatus southern platyfish x  
Cichlasoma bimaculatum acara   x
Cichlasoma urophthalmus Mayan cichlid x  
Hemichromis letourneuxi African jewelfish x x
Oreochromis aureus blue tilapia x x
Oreochromis niloticus Nile tilapia x x
Rocio octofasciata Jack Dempsey x  
Tilapia mariae spotted tilapia x  


Native species were returned to the wild alive. Fifty lots were cataloged at the Florida Museum.


Fish Slam 2019 participants

Particpants of the March 2019 Fish Slam on the Treasure Coast

(Public domain.)


The participants of the 2019 Fish Slams were: Chris Anderson (FWC), Emily Asp (UF), Josh Bauer (USACE), Arthur Bernhardt (FWC), Jesse Blanchard (FIU), Chelsea Bohaty (USACE), Mary Brown (USGS), Drew Cunningham (St. Lucie County), Wes Daniel (USGS), Gigi Delpizzo (FWC), Shana Dipalma (USFWS), Cedric Doolittle (USFWS), Allison Durland Donahue (UF), Brad Fontaine (FWC), John Galvez (USFWS), Kelly Gestring (FWC), Jeff Greenspan (UF), Reid Hyle (FWC), Howard Jelks (USGS), Megan Johansson (City of Winterpark), Jon Lane (USACE), Bill Loftus (CNT), Cayla Morningstar (CNT), Jon Moore (FAU), Dan Nelson (FWC), Jason O’Connor (FWC), Justin Procopio (CNT), Kristen Reaver (CNT), Nathan Reaver (UF), Doug Richard (FWC), Rob Robins (FM), Abrianna Sadler (Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary), Pam Schofield (USGS), Travis Tuten (FWC), Nick Trippel (FWC), Kendall Williams (Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary), and Shelby Wood (USFWS)


Institutional acronyms:  CNT – Cherokee Nation Technologies; FAU- Florida Atlantic University; FIU – Florida International University; FM – Florida Museum; FWC – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; UF – University of Florida; USACE – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; USFWS – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; USGS – U.S. Geological Survey


We are grateful to our professional colleagues who volunteered to make our Fish Slams successful.  Special thanks to Barron Moody and Ryan Hamm (FWC) for assistance with permits for these sampling events.


Fish Slam 2019 - Treasure Coast and Central Florida Gallery