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Nile Tilapia - Copyright FAO
Species Fact Sheets
Nile Tilapia - Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Oreochromis niloticus:   (click for more)

Oreochromis niloticus:   (click for more)

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  • Perca nilotica  Linnaeus, 1758: 290 (original description).
  • Chromis guentheri  Steindachner, 1864: 228.
  • Tilapia eduardiana  Boulenger, 1912: 138.
  • Tilapia cancellata  Nichols, 1923: 2.
  • Tilapia calciati  Gianferrari, 1924: 242.
  • Tilapia regani  Poll, 1932: 32.
  • Tilapia vulcani  Trewavas, 1933: 315.
  • Tilapia inducta  Trewavas, 1933: 317.
  • Oreochromis niloticus filoa  Trewavas, 1983: 167.
  • Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis  Trewavas, 1983: 177.
  • Oreochromis niloticus sugutae  Trewavas, 1983: 179.
  • Tilapia nilotica  Uyeno & Fujii, 1984: 190.
  • Oreochromis niloticus tana  Seyoum & Kornfield, 1992: 2163.
    FAO Names
    En - Nile tilapia, Fr - Tilapia du Nil, Sp - Tilapia del Nilo.
    3Alpha Code: TLN     Taxonomic Code: 1705905102
    Diagnostic Features
    Body compressed; caudal peduncle depth equal to length.  Scales cycloid.  A knob-like protuberance absent on dorsal surface of snout. Upper jaw length showing no sexual dimorphism.  First gill arch with 27 to 33 gillrakers.  Lateral line interrupted.  Spinous and soft ray parts of dorsal fin continuous. Dorsal fin with 16 - 17 spines and 11 to 15 soft rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 10-11 rays. Caudal fin truncated.  Colour in spawning season, pectoral, dorsal and caudal fins becoming reddish; caudal fin with numerous black bars. 
    Geographical Distribution
    Distribution Map
    Native of Africa; Eritrea, Addagalla, Harar (Ethiopia), Baringo, Crater, Kivu, Rudolf, Tana, Turkana and Buyoni Lakes, Mt. Ruwenzori, Kissenyi, Kenya, Uganda, Zaire. Introduced into Thailand for fish culture and now forms wild populations. Introduced to Japan from Africa in 1962; distributed in hot spring areas from Hokkaido to Kyushu and Okinawa, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and India.
    Habitat and Biology
    Occurs at a temperature range of 8& to 42&C,  in a wide variety of freshwater habitats. Is mainly diurnal.Feeds mainly on phytoplankton or benthic algae.
    Eggs and larvae nursed in mouth of female.  Omnivorous, but relying more heavily on plants.
    To 62 cm; weight 3.650 g (reported age 9 years).
    Interest to Fisheries
    Global Capture production for

    (Fao Fishery Statistic)
    Global Aquaculture production for

    (Fao Fishery Statistic)

    Caught with seines, gillnets and trawls. Cultured in hot spring areas. The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 230 445 t. The countries with the largest catches were Egypt (112 811 t) and Thailand (53 000 t).
    Marketed fresh and frozen.
    relatedAdditional information on Introduced Species (DIAS)
    related Additional information from SIPAM
    related Related Fishing Techniques
    Local Names
    English : Nile mouthbrooder ,  Nile tilapia .
    German : Tilapie .
    Japanese : Chikadai ,  Telapia .
    Khmer : Trey tilapia chhnoht .
    Swedish : Munruvare .
    Tagalog : Pla pla ,  Tilapia .
    Thai : Pla nil .
    Wolof : Wass .

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