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Species: Oreochromis urolepis, Wami Tilapia

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

flank: 2-4 dark blotches
operculum corner dark blotch
C narrow bars at base & top 1/2
juv: dark, ocelus base front soft D
male: v dark, edge D & top 1/2 & border C orange
lower gill rakers 22

Oreochromis urolepis (Norman, 1922)

Wami Tilapia

Body an elongate oblong; 1 pair of nostrils; snout rounded, with straight upper profile, as long as part of head behind eye; top jaw highly protrusible; teeth fine, close set, 5 series, ~70 two-pointed teeth in outer series, outer row readily movable; jaws of mature males enlarged, forehead profile concave; lower gill rakers 22 (19-27); pectoral as long as head, reaching nearly to level of anus; pelvics almost reaching anus; one dorsal fin XVII (XV-XVIII), 12 (12-13), without a notch between spines and rays; anal fin III, 10; scales large, usually 4 from origin of dorsal fin to lateral line, 2-3 rows on cheek; tail fin is densely scaled; lateral line in 2 straight overlapping sections, 30-32 lateral line scales; genital papilla large, elaborate.

Female and non breeding male; silvery; 2-4 dark blotches along midline of flank, these joined by narrow bars to a second row of blotches on upper back; a dark blotch at top rear corner of operculum; tail fin with narrow dark bars at base and upper half of fin. Juveniles with a large dark, whitish edged spot on base of front dorsal fin rays. Breeding male: dark olive to black; lips may be pale or black; underside of head not white; outer edge of dorsal fin, and edge or top half of tail fin red to orange.

Reaches 29 cm.

Lives in fresh and brackish water.

Depth range: 0-5 m.

Originally from SE Africa; introduced to 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
  • Detritivore
  • Herbivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Detritus
  • 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
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 29
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5