KNOWLEDGE ABOUT TILAPIA
 
 
Tilapia: Life History and Biology - Thomas Popma, Auburn University and Michael Masser, Texas A&M University and published by the Southern Regional Agricultural Center and the Texas Aquaculture Extension Service - Worldwide harvest of farmed tilapia has now surpassed 800,000 metric tons, and tilapia are second only to carps as the most widely farmed freshwater fish in the world.
 
The Nile tilapia (O. niloticus) was one of the first fish species cultured. Illustrations from Egyptian tombs suggest that Nile tilapia were cultured more than 3,000 years ago. Tilapia have been called Saint Peters fish in reference to biblical passages about the fish fed to the multitudes. The Nile tilapia is still the most widely cultured species of tilapia in Africa. 

Positive aquacultural characteristics of tilapia are their tolerance to poor water quality and the fact that they eat a wide range of natural food organisms. Biological constraints to the development of commercial tilapia farming are their inability to withstand sustained water temperatures below 50 to 52oF and early sexual maturity that results in spawning before fish reach market size. Following is a discussion of the characteristics and culture of nonhybrid tilapia.
 
 
 
TAXONOMY
 
 
Tilapia is the generic name of a group of cichlids endemic to Africa. The group consists of three aquaculturally important genera Oreochromis, Sarotherodon and Tilapia. Several characteristics distinguish these three genera, but possibly the most critical relates to reproductive behavior. All tilapia species are nest builders; fertilized eggs are guarded in the nest by a brood parent. Species of both Sarotherodon and Oreochromis are mouth brooders; eggs are fertilized in the nest but parents immediately pick up the eggs in their mouths and hold them through incubation and for several days after hatching. In Oreochromis species only females practice mouth brooding, while in Sarotherodon species either the male or both male and female are mouth brooders. 

During the last half century fish farmers throughout the tropical and semi-tropical world have begun farming tilapia. Today, all commercially important tilapia outside of Africa belong to the genus Oreochromis, and more than 90 percent of all commercially farmed tilapia outside of Africa are Nile tilapia. Less commonly farmed species are Blue tilapia (O. aureus), Mozambique tilapia (O. Mossambicus) and the Zanzibar tilapia (O. urolepis hornorum). The scientific names of tilapia species have been revised a lot in the last 30 years, creating some confusion. The scientific name of the Nile tilapia has been given as Tilapia nilotica, Sarotherodon niloticus, and currently as Oreochromis niloticus.
 
 
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
 
 
Tilapia are shaped much like sunfish or crappie but can be easily identified by an interrupted lateral line characteristic of the Cichlid family of fishes. They are laterally compressed and deep-bodied with long dorsal fins. The forward portion of the dorsal fin is heavily spined. Spines are also found in the pelvis and anal fins. There are usually wide vertical bars down the sides of fry, fingerlings, and sometimes adults.
 
 
 

 
 

KNOWLEDGE ABOUT TILAPIA
 
 
Tilapia: Life History and Biology - Thomas Popma, Auburn University and Michael Masser, Texas A&M University and published by the Southern Regional Agricultural Center and the Texas Aquaculture Extension Service - Worldwide harvest of farmed tilapia has now surpassed 800,000 metric tons, and tilapia are second only to carps as the most widely farmed freshwater fish in the world.
 
The Nile tilapia (O. niloticus) was one of the first fish species cultured. Illustrations from Egyptian tombs suggest that Nile tilapia were cultured more than 3,000 years ago. Tilapia have been called Saint Peters fish in reference to biblical passages about the fish fed to the multitudes. The Nile tilapia is still the most widely cultured species of tilapia in Africa. 

Positive aquacultural characteristics of tilapia are their tolerance to poor water quality and the fact that they eat a wide range of natural food organisms. Biological constraints to the development of commercial tilapia farming are their inability to withstand sustained water temperatures below 50 to 52oF and early sexual maturity that results in spawning before fish reach market size. Following is a discussion of the characteristics and culture of nonhybrid tilapia.
 

 
 

TAXONOMY
 
 
Tilapia is the generic name of a group of cichlids endemic to Africa. The group consists of three aquaculturally important genera Oreochromis, Sarotherodon and Tilapia. Several characteristics distinguish these three genera, but possibly the most critical relates to reproductive behavior. All tilapia species are nest builders; fertilized eggs are guarded in the nest by a brood parent. Species of both Sarotherodon and Oreochromis are mouth brooders; eggs are fertilized in the nest but parents immediately pick up the eggs in their mouths and hold them through incubation and for several days after hatching. In Oreochromis species only females practice mouth brooding, while in Sarotherodon species either the male or both male and female are mouth brooders. 

During the last half century fish farmers throughout the tropical and semi-tropical world have begun farming tilapia. Today, all commercially important tilapia outside of Africa belong to the genus Oreochromis, and more than 90 percent of all commercially farmed tilapia outside of Africa are Nile tilapia. Less commonly farmed species are Blue tilapia (O. aureus), Mozambique tilapia (O. Mossambicus) and the Zanzibar tilapia (O. urolepis hornorum). The scientific names of tilapia species have been revised a lot in the last 30 years, creating some confusion. The scientific name of the Nile tilapia has been given as Tilapia nilotica, Sarotherodon niloticus, and currently as Oreochromis niloticus.
 
 
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
 
 
Tilapia are shaped much like sunfish or crappie but can be easily identified by an interrupted lateral line characteristic of the Cichlid family of fishes. They are laterally compressed and deep-bodied with long dorsal fins. The forward portion of the dorsal fin is heavily spined. Spines are also found in the pelvis and anal fins. There are usually wide vertical bars down the sides of fry, fingerlings, and sometimes adults.