Animalia > Chordata > Actinopterygii > Perciformes > Cichlidae > Oreochromis > Oreochromis niloticus

Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia)

Synonyms: Chromis guentheri; Chromis nilotica; Chromis niloticus; Oreochromis cancellatus cancellatus; Oreochromis cancellatus filoa; Oreochromis nilotica; Oreochromis nilotica filoa; Oreochromis nilotics; Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis; Oreochromis niloticus cancellatus; Oreochromis niloticus eduardianus; Oreochromis niloticus edwardianus; Oreochromis niloticus filoa; Oreochromis niloticus lancellatus; Oreochromis niloticus niloticus; Oreochromis niloticus sugutae; Oreochromis niloticus tana; Oreochromis niloticus vulcani; Oreochromis vulcani; Perca nilotica; Sarotherodon niloticus; Tilapia calciati; Tilapia cancellata; Tilapia crassispina; Tilapia eduardiana; Tilapia esduardiana; Tilapia inducta; Tilapia nilotica; Tilapia nilotica cancellata; Tilapia nilotica eduardiana; Tilapia nilotica nilotica; Tilapia nilotica regani; Tilapia nilotious; Tilapia regani; Tilapia vulcani

Wikipedia Abstract

The Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, is a species of tilapia, a cichlid fish native to Africa from Egypt south to East and Central Africa, and as far west as Gambia. It is also native to Israel, and numerous introduced populations exist outside its natural range (e.g. Brazil). It is also commercially known as mango fish, nilotica, or boulti. The first name leads to easy confusion with another tilapia traded commercially, the mango tilapia (Sarotherodon galilaeus).
View Wikipedia Record: Oreochromis niloticus

Invasive Species

Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia) is a highly invasive fish that plagues a variety of ecosystems, particularly those located in the tropics. Oreochromis niloticus' effective mouthbrooding reproductive strategy allows it to increase in numbers at a rate which, not only crowds native species, but pollutes and unbalances the water column. Oreochromis niloticus is a frequently farmed aquatic species, due to its relative ease of culture and rapid reproduction rates. Most infestations are a result of aquaculture.
View ISSG Record: Oreochromis niloticus


Adult Weight [2]  5.29 lbs (2.40 kg)
Female Maturity [1]  1 year
Diet [4]  Planktivore, Detritivore, Carnivore (Invertebrates)
Adult Length [1]  24 inches (60 cm)
Brood Dispersal [3]  On/In self
Litter Size [1]  7,000
Maximum Longevity [1]  9 years
Migration [4]  Potamodromous


Name Countries Ecozone Biome Species Report Climate Land
Florida Peninsula United States Nearctic Tropical and Subtropical Coastal Rivers    
Lower Mississippi United States Nearctic Temperate Floodplain River and Wetlands    
Sabine - Galveston United States Nearctic Temperate Coastal Rivers    
Upper Mississippi United States Nearctic Temperate Floodplain River and Wetlands    

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Annaiwilundawa Tanks Sanctuary 3452 Sri Lanka      
Bach Ma National Park II 54733 Viet Nam
Kibale National Park II 196202 Uganda
Parc National du Niokolo-Koba National Park II 2046878 Senegal  
Reserva de la Biosfera de Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve VI 1312618 Mexico  

Prey / Diet

Aphanocapsa grevillei[5]
Boiga dendrophila (Gold-ringed Cat Snake, Mangrove Snake)[5]
Caridina nilotica[6]
Cyperus papyrus (papyrus)[5]
Diaphanosoma excisum[5]
Epiphanes macroura[5]
Filinia longiseta[5]
Merismopedia tenuissima[5]
Polyarthra platyptera[5]
Povilla adusta (African burrowing mayfly)[7]
Rastrineobola argentea (Silver cyprinid)[7]
Spirulina laxissima[5]
Thuricola folliculata[5]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Schilbe mystus (Silver catfish)1


Clarias gariepinus (Sharptoothed catfish)[8]
Gymnarchus niloticus (Aba)[9]
Homo sapiens (man)[5]
Lates niloticus (Victoria perch)[5]
Pelecanus onocrotalus (Great White Pelican)[5]


Parasitized by 
Acanthogyrus tilapiae[10]
Actinocleidus muelleri <Unverified Name>[10]
Amirthalingamia macracantha <Unverified Name>[10]
Anguillicola crassus <Unverified Name>[10]
Aplectana chamaeleonis <Unverified Name>[10]
Ascaris lumbricoides <Unverified Name>[10]
Bothriocephalus acheilognathi[10]
Cichlidogyrus aegypticus <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus arthracanthus <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus chandrai <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus cirratus <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus dossoui <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus ergensi <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus euzeti <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus halli <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus halli <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus haplochromii <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus longicornis[10]
Cichlidogyrus nematocirrus <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus rognoni <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus sclerosus[10]
Cichlidogyrus thurstonae <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus tiberianus <Unverified Name>[10]
Cichlidogyrus tilapiae[10]
Cichlidogyrus tubicirrus <Unverified Name>[10]
Clinostomum complanatum <Unverified Name>[10]
Clinostomum macrosomum <Unverified Name>[10]
Clinostomum metacercaria <Unverified Name>[10]
Clinostomum phalacrocoracis <Unverified Name>[10]
Clinostomum tilapiae <Unverified Name>[10]
Diplostomum magnicaudum <Unverified Name>[10]
Drepanocephalus olivaceus <Unverified Name>[10]
Echinochasmus liliputanus <Unverified Name>[10]
Enterogyrus cichlidarum <Unverified Name>[10]
Enterogyrus malmbergi <Unverified Name>[10]
Enterogyrus niloticus <Unverified Name>[10]
Euclinostomum ardeolae <Unverified Name>[10]
Euclinostomum heterostomum <Unverified Name>[10]
Gnathostoma binucleatum <Unverified Name>[10]
Gnathostoma turgidum <Unverified Name>[10]
Gyrodactylus cichlidarum <Unverified Name>[10]
Gyrodactylus niloticus <Unverified Name>[10]
Gyrodactylus shariffi <Unverified Name>[10]
Heterophyes aequalis[10]
Heterophyes heterophyes[10]
Lasiotocus niloticus <Unverified Name>[10]
Necator americanus (hookworm)[10]
Oreochromogyrus mymensinghi <Unverified Name>[10]
Plagioporus niloticus <Unverified Name>[10]
Prohemistomum vivax <Unverified Name>[10]
Scutogyrus longicornis <Unverified Name>[10]
Stellantchasmus pseudocirratus <Unverified Name>[10]
Stictodora sawakinensis[10]
Transversotrema patialense <Unverified Name>[10]

Institutions (Zoos, etc.)

Institution Infraspecies / Breed 
Burger's Zoo
Calgary Zoo, Garden & Prehistoric Park
Parque Zoologico Huachipa




Attributes / relations provided by
1Frimpong, E.A., and P. L. Angermeier. 2009. FishTraits: a database of ecological and life-history traits of freshwater fishes of the United States. Fisheries 34:487-495.
2de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
3"Oocyte development and egg envelope formation in Oreochromis niloticus, a mouth-brooding cichlid fish", Francolini M, Lora Lamia C, Bonsignorio D, Cotelli F, Journal of Submicroscopic Cytology and Pathology 2003, 35(1):49-60
4Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 01, 2010 at
5Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
6Budeba YL (1999) The role of Caridina Nilotica (Roux) in Lake Victoria fisheries with reference to Lates niloticus (L.). In: Report on the 4th Fisheries Data Working Group (FIDAWOG) Workshop (eds IGCowx & D. Tweddle) pp. 163–74. LVFRP, Jinja, Uganda.
7Njiru, M. (1999) Feeding ecology and population characteristics of Oreochromis niloticus (L.) and trophic interactions in the fish community of Nyanza Gulf, Lake Victoria, Kenya. In: Tweddle, D. and Cowx, I.G. (eds.) Report on third Fisheries Data Working Group (FIDAWOG) workshop held at the Triangle Hotel, Jinja, 29 March to 1 April 1999. Jinja, Fisheries Data Working Group of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Research Project, pp. 68-72. (LVFRP Technical Document,6)
8"Reproductive biology and feeding habits of the catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell) (Pisces: Clariidae) in lake Awassa, Ethiopia", Elias Dadebo, Ethiopian Journal of Science Vol. 23, No. 2 (December 2000), pp. 231-246
9Sagua, V.O. (1986) Preliminary observations on the feeding, habits and reproduction biology of Gymnarchus niloticus from Lake Chad. In: 3rd Annual Conference of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) , 22-25 February, 1983 , Maiduguri, Nigeria.
10Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
Ecoregions provided by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). WildFinder: Online database of species distributions, ver. 01.06 WWF WildFINDER
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