Lates niloticus, Nile perch : fisheries, aquaculture, gamefish

Lates niloticus (Linnaeus 1758)

Nile perch
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Lates niloticus
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Carangaria/misc () > Latidae (Lates perches)
Etymology: Lates: Latin, lateo, latere = to be hidden.  More on author: Linnaeus.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Freshwater; demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 10 - 60 m (Ref. 34290).   Tropical; 27°N - 7°S

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Africa: widespread throughout the Nilo-Sudan region of Africa, occurring commonly in all major river basins including the Senegal, Niger, Volta, Chad (Ref. 81285, 81652) and Nile (Ref. 3636, 81652). Found almost everywhere in West Africa, except in Gambia (Ref. 81285). Also present in the Congo basin and lakes Albert, Turkana/Rudolph and Tana (Ref. 3636). Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 74.3, range 53 - 85 cm
Max length : 200 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 58490); common length : 100.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 34290); max. published weight: 200.0 kg (Ref. 3900)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 7 - 8; Dorsal soft rays (total): 8-14; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 7 - 9. Diagnosis: mouth large and protrusible, lower jaw (slightly) prominent (Ref. 81285, 81652). Numerous villiform teeth present in jaws, on palate (Ref. 81285, 81652) and vomer (Ref. 81652). Preorbital/lachrymal (Ref. 4967, 81652) and preopercle (Ref. 4967, 81285, 81652) denticulate. Strong, prominent opercular spine present (Ref. 4967, 81285, 81652) on free edge of opercle, and a smaller one dorsal to it (Ref. 81652). Caudal fin rounded (Ref. 4967, 81285, 81652). Scales ctenoid, 54-74 along lateral line, followed by 6-8 pored scales on caudal-fin base; ceratobranchial (lower limb) of first gill arch with 12-14 gill rakers (Ref. 81285). Coloration: body uniformly silvery (Ref. 81285) or dark greyish-blue dorsally, greyish-silver on flank and ventrally (Ref. 34290, 81652). Fins greyish; interior of eye conspicuously yellowish (Ref. 81285). Juveniles brownish with lighter marbling (Ref. 81285) on head and flanks (Ref. 81652).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Inhabits channels, lakes and irrigation canals; adults inhabit deep water, while juveniles are found in shallow water (Ref. 81652). Feeds on fish especially clupeids and Alestes (Ref. 13851); smaller fish also feed on larger crustaceans and insects. Juveniles are planktivorous (Ref. 28714). Threatened due to over harvesting (Ref. 58490). No length type given but assumed to be in TL. Maximum reported size of 180.0 cm corresponding to a weight of 164 kg in Lake Albert (Ref. 81285).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Teugels, G.G., C. Lévêque, D. Paugy and K. Traoré, 1988. État des connaissances sur la faune ichtyologique des bassins côtiers de Côte d'Ivoire et de l'ouest du Ghana. Rev. Hydrobiol. Trop. 21(3):221-237. (Ref. 272)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)

  Least Concern (LC) ; Date assessed: 15 May 2019

CITES (Ref. 123416)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Potential pest

Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(Aquaculture: production; fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FishSource |

More information

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Spawning aggregation
Egg development
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
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Gill area


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Estimates based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5006   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00955 (0.00770 - 0.01184), b=3.04 (2.98 - 3.10), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.8 se; based on diet studies.
Generation time: 5.8 (4.2 - 12.1) years. Estimated as median ln(3)/K based on 10 growth studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.17-0.19; tm=2-3).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate to high vulnerability (47 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.