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Species: Oreochromis aureus, Blue Tilapia

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

grey-green + 8-10 bars
dark blotch - rear opercle
C clear + dark reticulum, edge red
D & A pale basal spots
juv: dark spot at base front soft D
male: dark grey, head blue, iris red, D & C edges red
lower gill rakers 20-26

Oreochromis aureus (Steindachner, 1864)

Blue Tilapia

Body an elongate oblong; 1 pair of nostrils; top jaw highly protrusible; teeth fine, close set, in several rows on jaws, 3-5 rows, outer row 2-pointed, outer row readily movable; fine teeth on throat plate that is longer than wide; gill rakers simple, lower rakers 18-26; one dorsal fin XVI (XIV-XVII), without a notch between spines and rays, 13 (12-15); anal fin III, 9-11; scales large, 2-3 horizontal rows on cheek, 4-5 rows between dorsal origin and lateral line; tail fin straight; genital papilla large, elaborate; lateral line in 2 straight overlapping sections, with 30-33 scales.

Female and non-breeding male grey green; a blackish blotch at top corner of opercle; 8-10 indistinct dark bars on body and tail base; dark fish with a dark spot at front of each body scale; tail fin without distinct narrow dark bars, with irregular dark marks or dark reticulum with white/clear interspaces; dorsal and anal fins with irregular rows of pale spots on their bases; juveniles with a dark spot on base of dorsal fin rays. Breeding male: dark grey head, body and fins; intense metallic blue cast to head; iris red; a black blotch at top corner of opercle; edge of dorsal fin dark red, edge of tail fin bright pink, those edges pale orange in breeding female.

Reaches 50.8 cm.

Lives in fresh and brackish water.

Depth range: 0-5 m.

Originally from W-NE Africa; introduced widely throughout our region for aquaculture purposes.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Detritus
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Phytoplankton
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 50.8
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5