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Tilapia restricted to one species?


Active Member
5 Year Member
Hello friends,

Did anyone read Wayne Leibel's column in the September issue of "Tropical Fish Hobbyist" magazine? His excellent article, titled "What is a Tilapia," discusses the phylogeny (evolutionary history) of the tilapiine lineage and, among other things, cites a 2002 study conducted by Klett & Meyer.

These authors conducted a molecular study where they sequenced a mitochondrial protein gene extracted from 39 putative tilapiine species, along with 16 additional African cichlid species, one Malagasy cichlid species, and one New World cichlid species. To get the full effect of the study, please refer to Dr. Leibel's article.

My purpose for posting this tread here is that the data, as compiled and analyzed by Klett & Meyer (2002), seems to suggest that the genus Tilapia should be restricted to the type species: Tilapia sparrmanii Smith 1840. If this is so, then all the other species currently assigned to the genus Tilapia will need to be reassigned elsewhere. There is something very "Cichlasoma-like" going on here.

Tilapia: It's not just for dinner anymore.

Thank you.

Randall Kohn