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Species: Oreochromis mossambicus, Mozambique Tilapia

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

grey-green/blue-grey, flank 2-5 dark blotches
edges D & C red, C no bars
juv: 6-7 bars, 3 spots on flank, spot front base soft D
male black, lower head white, edges D & C pink
lower gill rakers 17-18

Oreochromis mossambicus (Peters, 1852)

Mozambique Tilapia

Body an elongate oblong; 1 pair of nostrils; large oblique mouth reaches under or past front edge of eye, top jaw highly protrusible; jaws of mature males are enlarged, resulting in a concave forehead; 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 and has narrow lobes; gill rakers simple, lower rakers 17-18 (14-22); one dorsal fin XVI (XV-XVII), without a notch between spines and rays, 12 (10-13), longest soft ray extending onto base of tail in female and ¾ of tail in male; anal fin III, 9-10; tail fin bluntly rounded; scales large, 2-3 horizontal rows on cheek, 4-5 rows between dorsal origin and lateral line; tail fin not densely scaled; genital papilla large, elaborate; lateral line in 2 straight overlapping sections, with 29-33 scales.

Female and non breeding male grey green to deep blue-grey, with 2-5 dark blotches along mid-side, sometimes another series of blotches above that; tail fin without distinct narrow bars, edges of dorsal and tail fins narrowly red; juveniles silvery, with 6-7 bars and 3 spots along flank, with a dark spot on base of front soft dorsal fin rays. Breeding male: black; blue lips; lower half of head white; edges of dorsal and tail fins pink.

Reaches 50 cm, at least 3.3 kg.

Lives in fresh, brackish, salt and hypersaline water, but not in the open sea.

Depth range: 0-10 m.

Originally from SE Africa; introduced widely throughout our region for aquaculture purposes.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • 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)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 50
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 10