Virtual Fish Slam - March 2021

Science Center Objects

In March 2021, USGS researchers and partners conducted the first-ever Virtual Fish Slam. The bi-annual Fish Slam event helps monitor new introductions and document range expansion of known non-native freshwater fishes. 

Florida Southern College students with Pterygoplichthys sp.

Florida Southern College students with Pterygoplichthys sp, collected during the Virtual Fish Slam - March 2021(Credit: Allison Durland Donahue, Florida Southern University)

March 14-18, 2021 – Sixty-three fish biologists and university students from 10 organizations participated in a week-long Virtual Fish Slam. Due to COVID-19, participants sampled local sites of their choosing and submitted their data digitally. Thirty-three sites throughout Florida were sampled for non-native fishes. Sampling gear included electrofishing boats, backpack electrofisher, minnow traps, cast nets, seines, dipnets, hook and line, and underwater camera. Participants collected or observed 20 species of non-native fishes. For general information on Fish Slam events, please see the webpage for the Florida Non-native Fish Action Alliance.

While we missed the comradery and getting to see everyone’s fish collections at the end of the day, the flexibility of this slam allowed people to sample when and where their schedule permitted. This allowed for a broader range of participants who may not have been able to travel to a typical Fish Slam. This also offered some of the participants, particularly in the northern part of the state, the opportunity to explore infrequently sampled sites for non-native species close to home.

A new locality collection for the Jack Dempsey cichlid, Rocio octofasciata, was made by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission near the Little Wekiva River. (Purple arrow on map)

Data from these collections and all our previous Fish Slams are publicly available via the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database. Several collections are cataloged at the Florida Museum.


Non-native fishes collected or observed during Fish Slam 2021

Scientific Name Common Name
Channa marulius bullseye snakehead
Monopterus albus swamp eel
Hoplosternum littorale brown hoplo
Pterygoplichthys spp. sailfin catfish
Clarias batrachus walking catfish
Belonesox belizanus pike killifish
Xiphophorus maculatus southern platyfish
Xiphophorus variatus Variable platyfish
Amphilophus citrinellus Midas cichlid
Astronotus ocellatus Oscar
Cichla ocellaris butterfly peacock bass
Cichlasoma bimaculatum black acara
Cichlasoma dimerus Chanchita
Mayaheros urophthalmus Mayan cichlid
Hemichromis letourneuxi African jewelfish
Oreochromis aureus blue tilapia
Oreochromis niloticus Nile tilapia
Parachromis managuensis jaguar guapote
Rocio octofasciata Jack Dempsey
Tilapia mariae spotted tilapia


Bullseye snakehead, Channa marulius

Bullseye snakehead, Channa marulius, collected in southern Florida during the Virtual Fish Slam - March 2021

(Credit: Kelly Gestring, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC))

Participants of the March 2021 Fish Slam

The participants of the 2021 Fish Slam were: Josh Bauer (USACE), Valentina Bautista (FIU), Jesse Blanchard (FIU), Ken Blick (USFWS), Chelsea Bohaty (USACE), Tony Brady (USFWS), Mary Brown (USGS), Andy Distrubell (FIU), Cedric Doolittle (USFWS), Allison Durland Donahue and students (Florida Southern University), Dwayne Edwards (FWC), Sorilis Ruiz-Escobar (FM), Gabrielle Foursa (FM), Zachary Frame (FWC), Jonathan Freedman (CNSS), John Galvez (USFWS), Kelly Gestring (FWC), Grant Gilmore, Dayna Hunn (FWC), Shea Husband (FM), Brian Hutchinson (FWC), Howard Jelks (USGS), Danny Khor (FM), Jeff Kline and intern (NPS), Jon Lane (USACE), Joshua Linnenfelser (FIU), Bill Loftus (CNSS), Halle Marchese (FM), Jordan Massie (FIU), Cayla Morningstar (CNSS), Matt Neilson (USGS), Dan Nelson (FWC), Lauren Padron (FIU), Richard Paperno (FWC), Ian Pfingsten (USGS), Justin Procopio (CNSS), Kristen Reaver (USGS), Laura Rincon (FM), Rob Robins (FM), Cheryl Samek (USFWS), Pam Schofield (USGS), Gabriel Somarriba (FM), Shakira Trabelsi (FIU), Nick Trippel (FWC), Vanessa Trujillo (Deering Estate), Sophie White (FM), Ashley Yarbrough (FWC), and Jacob Zetzer (Audubon)

Institutional acronyms:  CNSS – Cherokee Nation System Solutions; FIU – Florida International University; FM – Florida Museum; FWC – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; NPS – National Park Service; USACE – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; USFWS – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; USGS – U.S. Geological Survey


We are grateful to our colleagues who volunteered to make this unprecedented Fish Slam successful. We look forward to conducting the next Fish Slam safely in person.