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Florida Manatee & Aquatic Center Animal Fact Sheet
Oreochromis aureus

Found primarily in Florida, Alabama, and Texas of North America, Subtropical and tropical Africa, the Middle East including Senegal, and Niger.

The color of the Blue Tilapia depends on whether or not it is breeding season; although primarily found in a bluish gray, males develop a bright metallic blue and vermilion on the dorsal fin. Males will also develop an intense pink on the caudal fin. Whereas, the female’s dorsal and caudal fins will change into a pale orange. Juveniles display dark horizontal bars across the body. As they mature, they will grow faint. There are also dark and light spots located on the dorsal fin.

The Blue Tilapia is a schooling fish. However, during breeding seasons, the males focus more on attracting females and leading them away from the school to the nests.

Habitat: Although most common in freshwater, they also like brackish waters. Tilapia can adapt to many different habitats including open water, densely grown environments in lakes, streams, ponds, impoundments, wetlands, marine habitats, water courses, estuaries, and marine environments. Prefer tropical water.
Diet: Herbivores: phytoplankton, epiphytic algae, zooplankton, and, occasionally, small fish depending on availability. Juveniles feed on copepods, cladocerans, and small invertebrates.
Status: Not Evaluated
Approximate Dimensions of Adult: Length: 16 cm
Weight: 2-4 lbs
Lifespan: Up to 6 years
Reproduction & Offspring:

The spawning process begins in March with the male fish building the nest. After the female has released her eggs into the nest, the male can fertilize them. Once fertilized, the female will transport them in her mouth to deeper waters. Tilapias are mouth breeders meaning the eggs hatch in the female’s mouth where they remain until they have matured enough to be safe from predators.


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