Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Tilapia: Bechuana, African native thiape = fish (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 7.0 - ? ; dH range: 10 - ?; potamodromous; depth range 5 - ? m (Ref. 3). Tropical; 22°C - 25°C (Ref. 2059); 10°S - 30°S
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 23.5 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 27292); max. published weight: 445.00 g (Ref. 7248)
Africa: Kasai drainage including the Lulua and Kwango (middle Congo River basin), upper Congo River basin including the upper Lualaba, Luvua, Lake Mweru, Luapula, Lufira and Upemba region (Ref. 55074), upper Cuanza, Cunene, Okavango, Lake Ngami, Zambezi, Limpopo, Sabi, Lundi, northern tributaries of the Orange River, Lake Malawi and Bangweulu (Ref. 5163).
Occurs in widely diverse habitat. Favors areas where plant cover exists along the edges of rivers, lakes or swamps. Prefers shallow sheltered waters and does not colonize the open water of large lakes. Adults feed preferentially on filamentous algae, aquatic macrophytes and vegetable matter of terrestrial origin (leaves, plants, etc.) (Ref. 3). Juveniles feed small crustaceans and midge larvae (Ref. 6465). Forage fish for bass (Ref. 7248). Undertake seasonal upstream migration and breeds before and during these migrations (Ref. 13337).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Male spreads his milt over the cluster of eggs which are deposited on the bottom or even attached to the branches of aquatic weeds. Parents guard the eggs. Eggs and fry may be moved into the mouth to alternative sites during hatching operations but there is no evidence of actual mouth brooding.
Teugels, G.G. and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde, 1991. Tilapia. p. 482-508. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse, G.G. Teugels and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels; MRAC, Tervuren; and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 4. (Ref. 5163)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: subsistence fisheries; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes
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=0.01514 (0.00849 - 0.02697), b=2.92 (2.77 - 3.07), based on LWR estimates for species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.7 ±0.28 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Assuming K>0.3; tm=1).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (14 of 100) .