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Species: Pelmatolapia mariae, Spotted Tilapia

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

iris red; dark blotch opercle corner
grey, flank 6 black blotches, central largest
fins bluey spots, edges bluey
juve: 8 bars, basal spot front soft D
male: dark, reddish front flank, soft D & C
lower gill rakers 12-15

Pelmatolapia mariae (Boulenger, 1899)

Spotted Tilapia

Body an elongate oblong; large males with a hump over eye; 1 pair of nostrils; top jaw highly protrusible; teeth fine, close set, 3-6 rows on jaws, outer row 2-pointed, flattened, immovable or nearly so; toothed throat apparatus: lower plate broadly triangular, as wide as long, bottom keel shorter than depth of triangular toothed surface, front teeth curved, single-pointed, rear teeth straight, with 2 points, small and narrow, forming a felt-like covering; gill rakers simple, 4-5+12-16; one dorsal fin XV-XVII, 13-15, without a notch between spines and rays; anal fin III, 10-11; lateral line in 2 straight overlapping sections, with 20-21+10-15 scales; scales large.

Pale grey brown; iris red; a black blotch at upper corner of operculum, a series of ~6-9 black blotches along body midline to tail fin base, largest and darkest on center of body, bars from those blotches extending onto dorsal fin; belly scales with a central red spot; dorsal, anal and tail fins greenish, with rows of reddish spots, edges of dorsal and tail fins bluey white, although tips of dorsal spines red; large males base color is dark grey-brown, with reddish cast to front of flank, soft dorsal and tail fins; juveniles with a dark spot on base of front dorsal fin rays; a series of 7-9 prominent dark bars on body and tail base; unpaired fins yellowish.

Reaches 42 cm; 1.36 kg.

Fresh to brackish water.

Depth range: 0-5 m?

West Africa originally; introduced to the US as an ornamental fish.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Detritivore
  • Omnivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Detritus
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 42
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5