Oreochromis mossambicus
(Peters 1852)
Family Cichlidae

Lateral view of Mozambique tilapia
From top to bottom, the photo above shows two adult Mozambique tilapia and a juvenile. These fish were photographed by Howard L. Jelks (top & bottom) and Robert H. Robins (middle), and are now part of the Florida Museum ichthyology collection. Middle: UF 238358 Bottom: UF 180970

The Mozambique tilapia is a member of the cichlid and tilapia family. It has a moderately deep-bodied, compressed shape. This species is silver to gray with between two and seven black blotches along the side of the body. There are also black bars that extend from these blotches to the dorsal fins, and breeding males are charcoal gray to black with a white to yellow gold throat and cheek. The jaws of breeding males are elongated and the dorsal head profile is concave. The teeth are typically bicuspid, but gradually become unicuspid in large individuals. The “tilapia spot” is found anteriorly on the base of the dorsal fin and is most prominent in juveniles. Mozambique tilapia live in a wide variety of habitats including roadside ditches, canals, springs, wet prairies, creeks, rivers and lakes with vegetation.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Non-indigenous freshwater
  • Florida Distribution — Western and North Central drainages
  • River Drainages — the Everglades and the Indian River
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