Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Oreochromis: Latin, aurum = gold + Greek, chromis = a fish, perhaps a perch (Ref. 45335); leucostictus: From the Greek "leukostiktos" = with white spots, referring to the white spotted color pattern of this species (Ref. 55074).
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 7.0 - 9.0; dH range: 10 - ?; depth range 0 - 10 m (Ref. 34291). Tropical; 26°C - 28°C (Ref. 2060); 2°N - 2°S
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 6 - 22 cm
Max length : 36.3 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 56123)
(total): 15 - 18;
soft rays: 9 - 11;
Vertebrae: 27 - 29. Diagnosis: lower jaw not longer than 34% of the head, preorbital depth not more than 23.2%; teeth of jaws and pharynx very small, those of the lower pharyngeal restricted to the posterior part of the pad; 27-29 vertebrae (Ref. 2). 28-30 scales on lateral line (Ref. 2, 34290, 54836), rarely 31 or 32 (Ref. 2). 19-24 gill-rakers on lower part of first gill-arch (Ref. 34290, 54836). Length/depth ratio of caudal peduncle 0.5-0.8 (Ref. 34290). Body dark olive-green (Ref. 2, 4903, 34290) to slately-black (Ref. 4903, 34290), clearly marked with whitish spots (Ref. 2, 4903, 34290, 54836). Lower lip often bluish-white; 8 to 11(12) dark vertical stripes sometimes visible on flanks (Ref. 2, 4903, 34290). Dorsal, anal and caudal fins dark; soft dorsal, entire caudal and anal fins with well-defined bluish-white spots (Ref. 4903, 34290). Genital papilla intensely white in both sexes (Ref. 2). Ground color in breeding males changes to dark blue-black, whilst whitish spots on body and fins are intensified; eye outstanding with its bright amber iris crossed by a black bar (Ref. 2, 4903, 34290).
Africa: Lakes Edward, George and Albert and affluent rivers and streams of these lakes and of the Semliki River; tributaries of the Aswa River (possible introduction). Introduced from Lake Albert to Lake Victoria and fish ponds in catchment (Ref. 4967). Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.
Occupies an inshore zone and is common in lagoons (Ref. 87). Occasionally forms schools (Ref. 2, 39939). Is mainly diurnal (Ref. 2). Can tolerate considerable deoxygenation (Ref. 2, 1739, 4903, 13046, 32297) and warm temperatures (Ref. 2060), known to occur at 38.0 °C (Ref. 2). Feeds on phytoplankton (Ref. 2, 21, 4903, 34291, 55486) and detritus (Ref. 34291, 55486, 56058). Ovophilic (Ref. 2060), female mouthbrooder (Ref. 4903, 34291, 55074).
Breeds over shallow muddy bottoms in sheltered inlets and in the papyrus fringe (Ref. 56123). Ripe males are found near the bottom over particular nesting areas (Ref. 39939). Males establish territory and make a nest by mouth-digging (Ref. 2), actively preventing invasion by other fishes (Ref. 39939). Nests made in shallow water, 15-300cm deep (Ref. 2, 56123), 16-20cm in diameter and 1-4m apart, dug in coarse leaf-debris or on shallow muddy bottoms (Ref. 2, 39939). Brooding females from the lagoons are found in pools adjacent to the lagoons/nursery swamps (Ref. 2, 39939). Fry spent their early days in shallow, grassy (Ref. 2, 32297, 39939) and deoxygenated swamps (Ref. 56123), but move to deeper water as their length increases (Ref. 32297, 39939).
Trewavas, E., 1983. Tilapiine fishes of the genera Sarotherodon, Oreochromis and Danakilia. British Mus. Nat. Hist., London, UK. 583 p. (Ref. 2)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Potential pest (Ref. 13364)
Aquaculture: experimental; aquarium: commercial
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01380 (0.00771 - 0.02471), b=2.97 (2.82 - 3.12), based on LWR estimates for species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.3 ±0.14 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (K=0.63-1.16).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (20 of 100) .