Tilapia (genus)

Last updated

Tilapia sparrmanii.jpg
Banded tilapia, Tilapia sparrmanii
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cichliformes
Family: Cichlidae
Tribe: Tilapiini
Genus: Tilapia
A. Smith, 1840
Type species
Tilapia sparrmanii
A. Smith, 1840

4, see text


ChromisGünther, 1862 (non Cuvier, 1814: preoccupied)

Tilapia is a genus of cichlid fishes endemic to freshwater habitats in Southern Africa. In the past this was a very large genus including all species with the common name tilapia, but today the vast majority are placed in other genera. [1]

Species and taxonomy

In the past, Oreochromis and Sarotherodon were retained in the genus Tilapia, but these are treated as separate genera by all recent authorities. [2] Even with this more restricted Tilapia, there were indications that the taxonomic treatment was problematic, and in 2013 a review of the group resulted in the removal of most "Tilapia" species to the genera Coelotilapia , Coptodon , Heterotilapia and Pelmatolapia . [1] With these as separate genera, only four species remain in Tilapia: [1]

Temporarily retained here, but belonging elsewhere: [1]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cichlid</span> Family of fishes

Cichlids are fish from the family Cichlidae in the order Cichliformes. Traditionally Cichlids were classed in a suborder, the Labroidei, along with the wrasses (Labridae), in the order Perciformes, but molecular studies have contradicted this grouping. On the basis of fossil evidence, it first appeared in Tanzania during the Eocene epoch, about 46–45 million years ago. The closest living relative of cichlids is probably the convict blenny, and both families are classified in the 5th edition of Fishes of the World as the two families in the Cichliformes, part of the subseries Ovalentaria. This family is large, diverse, and widely dispersed. At least 1,650 species have been scientifically described, making it one of the largest vertebrate families. New species are discovered annually, and many species remain undescribed. The actual number of species is therefore unknown, with estimates varying between 2,000 and 3,000.

The Wami tilapia is a tilapiine cichlid that grows to over 20 cm in length and is considered a useful food fish in Tanzania and the island of Zanzibar, where it may have been introduced by man. It is tolerant of brackish water and grows well in saline pools, making it particularly suitable for aquaculture by communities living close to the sea. Like other tilapia it is an omnivore and will feed on algae, plants, small invertebrates, and detritus. The common name refers to the Wami River.

<i>Oreochromis</i> Genus of fishes

Oreochromis is a large genus of oreochromine cichlids, fishes endemic to Africa and the Middle East. A few species from this genus have been introduced far outside their native range and are important in aquaculture. Many others have very small ranges; some are seriously threatened, and O. ismailiaensis and O. lidole possibly are extinct. Although Oreochromis primarily are freshwater fish of rivers, lakes and similar habitats, several species can also thrive in brackish waters and some even survive in hypersaline conditions with a salinity that far surpasses that of seawater. In addition to overfishing and habitat loss, some of the more localized species are threatened by the introduction of other, more widespread Oreochromis species into their ranges. This is because they—in addition to competing for the local resources—often are able to hybridize.

<i>Sarotherodon</i> Genus of fishes

Sarotherodon is a genus of oreochromine cichlids that are native to the northern half of Africa, with a single species, S. galilaeus, also ranging into the Levant. A couple of species from this genus have been introduced far outside their native range, and are important in aquaculture. Most other species have small ranges and some are seriously threatened. They mainly inhabit fresh and brackish water, but a few can live in salt water. Species in this genus, as well as those in several other oreochromine and tilapiine genera, share the common name "tilapia" and historically they were included in the genus Tilapia.

<i>Steatocranus</i> Genus of fishes

Steatocranus is a genus of small rheophilic cichlids mostly native to the Congo River Basin in DR Congo/Congo Brazzaville, although one species, S. irvinei, is restricted to the Volta River in Ghana and Burkino Faso, and it belongs in a separate genus. There are also at least c. 10 undescribed species in the Congo River basin awaiting scientific description.

<i>Etia nguti</i> Species of fish

Etia nguti is a species of cichlid fish endemic to Cameroon in Central Africa where it is only known from the Nguti River, a tributary of the Cross-Manyu River. This species can reach up to 13.3 centimetres (5.2 in) in standard length. It is the only member of its genus and tribe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Spotted tilapia</span> Species of fish

The spotted tilapia, also known as the spotted mangrove cichlid or black mangrove cichlid, is a species of fish of the cichlid family. It is native to fresh and brackish water in West and Central Africa, but has been introduced to other regions where it is considered invasive.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tilapiine cichlid</span> Tribe of fishes

The Tilapiini are a tribe within the family Cichlidae commonly known as tilapiine cichlids. Formerly this tribe contained many other genera and species, including the economically important Oreochromis and Sarotherodon, but a taxonomic review found that this grouping was paraphyletic and most were moved to Coelotilapini, Coptodonini, Heterotilapini, Oreochromini and Pelmatolapiini. Together, most species in these tribes are called "tilapias". In a more distant past, a number of other, more different genera like Steatocranus also were included in Tilapiini. With these as separate, Tilapiini now is a much more restricted tribe with only three genera and about half a dozen species from Central and Southern Africa.

<i>Haplochromis</i> Genus of fishes

Haplochromis is a ray-finned fish genus in the family Cichlidae. It has been used as the default "wastebin taxon" for Pseudocrenilabrinae cichlids of the East African Rift, and as such became the "largest" fish "genus". Many of these cichlids are popular aquarium fishes; like similar Haplochromini they are known as "haplos", "happies" or "haps" among aquarium enthusiasts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Redbreast tilapia</span> Species of fish

The redbreast tilapia is a species of fish in the family Cichlidae. It is found widely in the southern half of Africa. Its natural habitats are freshwater lakes and freshwater marshes. It is known as the redbreast kurper in South Africa.

Coelotilapia joka is a vulnerable species of cichlid fish from rivers in Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. This relatively small tilapia formerly was included in the genus Tilapia, but in 2013 it was moved to its own genus Coelotilapia and tribe Coelotilapini.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pseudocrenilabrinae</span> Subfamily of fishes

The Pseudocrenilabrinae are a subfamily in the cichlid family of fishes to which, according to a study from 2004, includes all the Middle Eastern and African cichlids with the exception of the unusual Heterochromis multidens and the Malagasy species. This subfamily includes more than 1,100 species. Previous authors recognized additional African subfamilies, e.g. the Tilapiinae of Hoedeman (1947), Tylochrominae of Poll (1986), or Boulengerochrominae of Tawil (2001).

<i>Tilapia busumana</i> Species of fish

Tilapia busumana is a species of cichlid native to Lake Bosumtwi, the Bia River Basin, the Pra River Basin and the Tano River Basin in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. This species can reach a length of 18 centimetres (7.1 in) SL. It can also be found in the aquarium trade. In 2013, research published by Dunz & Schliewen indicated that this species does not belong in the genus Tilapia, but is rather closer to "Steatocranus" irvinei and Gobiocichla. It is currently retained in Tilapia pending further research.

Lake Ejagham is a small lake near Eyumodjock in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. Unlike many other lakes in the region, it is not a volcanic lake, but is likely a solution basin formed by groundwater during the last Ice Age. This highly isolated lake is roughly oval in shape, lacks an inflow, but has an outflow into the Munaya River. The outflow is impassable to most fishes because of a waterfall.

<i>Pterochromis congicus</i> Species of fish

Pterochromis congicus is a species of cichlid native to the Congo River Basin in Central Africa. This species can reach a standard length of 15.2 cm (6.0 in). This genus and Pelmatolapia are the only in the tribe Pelmatolapiini, but formerly they were included in Tilapiini.

<i>Coptodon</i> Genus of cichlids

Coptodon is a genus of cichlids native to fresh, brackish and coastal marine waters in Africa with C. zillii also found in the Middle East. It is the only genus in the tribe Coptodonini. Formerly included in Tilapia, this genus and tribe was separated in 2013. Despite the change in genus, Coptodon spp. are still referred to by the common name tilapia. Several species are important in local fisheries and a few are aquacultured.

<i>Heterotilapia</i> Genus of fishes

Heterotilapia is a genus of cichlid fish that are native to rivers from Guinea-Bissau to Liberia in tropical West Africa. Formerly considered a subgenus of Tilapia, in 2013, it was elevated to genus rank. They are medium-large cichlids, up to about 20–30 cm (8–12 in) in standard length depending on the species, and with a distinctive dark-and-light banded pattern. They are substrate spawners and brooders. H. buttikoferi is a common species that also has been introduced outside its native range, but H. cessiana is highly localized and critically endangered.

<i>Pelmatolapia</i> Genus of fishes

Pelmatolapia is a genus of cichlids native to tropical Africa. This genus and Pterochromis are the only in the tribe Pelmatolapiini, but formerly they were included in Tilapiini.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Redbelly tilapia</span> Species of fish

The redbelly tilapia, also known as the Zille's redbreast tilapia or St. Peter's fish, is a species of fish in the cichlid family. This fish is found widely in fresh and brackish waters in the northern half of Africa and the Middle East. Elsewhere in Africa, Asia, Australia and North America, it has been introduced as a food fish or as a control of aquatic vegetation. Where introduced, it sometimes becomes invasive, threatening the local ecology and species. The redbelly tilapia is an important food fish and sometimes aquacultured.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oreochromini</span> Tribe of fishes

Oreochromini is a tribe of cichlids in the Pseudocrenilabrinae subfamily that is native to Africa and Western Asia, but a few species have been widely introduced to other parts of the world. It was formerly considered to be part of the tribe Tilapiini but more recent workers have found that the Tilapiini sensu lato is paraphyletic. Despite this change, species in Oreochromini are still referred to by the common name tilapia and some of the most important tilapia in aquaculture —certain species of Oreochromis and Sarotherodon— are part of this tribe. In contrast, several species have small ranges and are seriously threatened; a few are already extinct or possibly extinct.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Dunz, A.R., and Schliewen, U.K. (2013). Molecular phylogeny and revised classification of the haplotilapiine cichlid fishes formerly referred to as “Tilapia”. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, online 29 March 2013. doi : 10.1016/j.ympev.2013.03.015
  2. Nagl, S.; Tichy, H.; Mayer, W.E.; Samonte, I.E.; McAndrew, B.J., and Klein, J. (2001). Classification and Phylogenetic Relationships of African Tilapiine Fishes Inferred from Mitochondrial DNA Sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 20(3): 361–374. doi : 10.1006/mpev.2001.0979