Heterotilapia buttikoferi
(Hubrecht 1881)
Family Cichlidae

Lateral view of a hornet tilapia
This hornet tilapia was collected in Miami-Dade County, Florida in 2015. It is now part of the Florida Museum ichthyology collection, UF 237872. Florida Museum photo by Zachary Randall

The hornet tilapia is a member of the cichlid and tilapia family. It is deep-bodied, compressed and has between six and eight black bars on the head and body: The first bar is through the eye and the last is through the caudal fin base. This species has a pointed snout and concave dorsal head profile in large adults, and a light blue stripe beneath the eye extends to the corner of the mouth. The jaws of some large individuals can be bright blue, and the black “tilapia spot” can be found anteriorly on the base of the second dorsal fin and is most prominent in juveniles. The hornet tilapia can be found in canals and ponds.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Non-indigenous freshwater
  • Florida Distribution — Peninsula drainages
  • River Drainages — the Everglades
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