Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Cichliformes
(Cichlids, convict blennies) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Oreochromis: Latin, aurum = gold + Greek, chromis = a fish, perhaps a perch (Ref. 45335). More on author: Günther.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; benthopelagic. Tropical; 9°S - 15°S
Africa: Lake Malawi and its catchment (Ref. 118630), including crater lakes Kingiri, Ilamba and Massoko (Ref. 118638) and Upper Shire River (Ref. 37112).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 26.9, range 20 - 37 cm
Max length : 36.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4967)
(total): 16 - 17;
soft rays: 8 - 10. Diagnosis: A heavily-built large tilapia species with a wide rounded head; dwarf populations exist in some crater lakes, showing bony 'hunger-form' body shape (Ref. 118638). Females and juveniles with grey bodies and 6 or more vertical bars; males have a bright blue, occasionally white or green, 'mask' across the head; when fully ripe, the underside of most of the body can be black, with the upper surface a conspicuous white to pale blue; genital tassel can be long and branched, pinkish to bright yellow; females and non-territorial males are indistinguishable from Oreochromis karongae (Ref. 118638).
A semi-pelagic species (Ref. 4967), found in all kinds of habitats but seen mostly in shallow water; it is abundant in the southeastern arm of Lake Malawi, where it occurs in shallow, vegetated bays (Ref. 5595). It feeds on phytoplankton and sometimes from the sediment on the sand; diatoms constitute the major part of its diet (Ref. 5595). Major component of the fisheries catch in Lake Malawi (Ref. 118638). IUCN conservation status is endangered, due to declining population trend (Ref. 118638).
Mating behavior includes the T-stand, both partners alternately forming the horizontal part of the T. Eggs are laid in batches and immediately picked up by the female. Fertilization takes place both on the ground and in the mouth. Females brood eggs/young, guarding their fry until about 15 mm (Ref. 2781).
Trewavas, E., 1983. Tilapiine fishes of the genera Sarotherodon, Oreochromis and Danakilia. British Mus. Nat. Hist., London, UK. 583 p. (Ref. 2)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01660 (0.00851 - 0.03237), b=2.99 (2.83 - 3.15), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 2.1 ±0.00 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.24-0.45; tm=3).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (38 of 100) .