Oreochromis spilurus (Günther, 1894)
Sabaki tilapia
Oreochromis spilurus
photo by Nightingale, A.

Family:  Cichlidae (Cichlids), subfamily: Pseudocrenilabrinae
Max. size:  19.2 cm SL (male/unsexed); 16.3 cm (female)
Environment:  benthopelagic; freshwater; brackish
Distribution:  Africa: Coastal rivers of Kenya from the Mwena River to the lower Athi below Lugard's Falls; also near its mouth, including Lake Chem Chem; Lower and middle Tana River, Northern Uaso Nyiro, Juba system and Webi Shebeli; Nguruman; and Ethiopia (Ref. 5166). Probably also in Lake Momello, south of the Kenya-Tanzania border (Ref. 5166, 118638). Three subspecies are recognized: Oreochromis spilurus niger, Oreochromis spilurus percivali and Oreochromis spilurus spilurus.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 14-17; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10-13; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 9-10; Vertebrae: 28-30. Description: Scales on cheek in 2 or 3 series (Ref. 2). Genital papilla of male conical or club-shaped, with a sub-terminal pore (Ref. 2).

Colouration: Females and immature males have a yellow-buff background colour with a series of mid-lateral blotches and a more dorsal parallel series (Ref. 2). Mature males golden-yellow; conspicuous bright blue areas on dorsal, anal and pelvic fins; orange or red dorsal lappets (Ref. 2).

Biology:  Feeds on insects, plants and diatoms (Ref. 2).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 09 April 2021 Ref. (130435)
Threat to humans:  harmless

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