Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Oreochromis: Latin, aurum = gold + Greek, chromis = a fish, perhaps a perch (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 6 m (Ref. 32849), usually ? - 20 m (Ref. 34290). Tropical; 14°C - 33°C (Ref. 3); 32°N - 10°N
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 18.6, range 6 - 28 cm
Max length : 60.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4967); max. published weight: 4.3 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 9 years (Ref. 164)
(total): 15 - 18;
soft rays: 9 - 11;
Vertebrae: 30 - 32. Diagnosis: jaws of mature male not greatly enlarged (length of lower jaw 29-37 % of head length); genital papilla of breeding male not tassellated (Ref. 2). Most distinguishing characteristic is the presence of regular vertical stripes throughout depth of caudal fin (Ref. 4967, 53405).
Africa: naturally occurring in coastal rivers of Israel (Ref. 5166), Nile basin (including lake Albert, Edward and Tana), Jebel Marra, Lake Kivu, Lake Tanganyika, Awash River, various Ethiopian lakes, Omo River system, Lake Turkana, Suguta River and Lake Baringo (Ref. 2). In West Africa natural distribution covers the basins of the Senegal, Gambia, Volta, Niger, Benue and Chad, with introduced specimens reported from various coastal basins (Ref. 53405). Widely introduced for aquaculture, with many existing strains. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction. The following subspecies are recognized: Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis, Oreochromis niloticus cancellatus, Oreochromis niloticus eduardianus, Oreochromis niloticus filoa, Oreochromis niloticus niloticus, Oreochromis niloticus sugutae, Oreohromis niloticus tana and Oreohromis niloticus vulcani.
Occur in a wide variety of freshwater habitats like rivers, lakes, sewage canals and irrigation channels (Ref. 28714). Mainly diurnal. Feed mainly on phytoplankton or benthic algae. Oviparous (Ref. 205). Mouthbrooding by females (Ref. 2). Extended temperature range 8-42 °C, natural temperature range 13.5 - 33 °C (Ref. 3). Marketed fresh and frozen (Ref. 9987).
Trewavas, E., 1983. Tilapiine fishes of the genera Sarotherodon, Oreochromis and Danakilia. British Mus. Nat. Hist., London, UK. 583 p.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02097 (-0.01973 - 0.06167), b=2.97 (2.95 - 2.99), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.0 ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.14-0.41; tm=1-2; tmax=9; Fec < 1,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (34 of 100) .