The Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, is a cichlid fish native to North, East and Central Africa, and Israel. Like other tilapia species, O. niloticus is easily and inexpensively farmed and was introduced (and subsequently established itself) in much of the tropical and subtropical world via aquaculture mainly between 1960-80 as a highly desirable alternative to the earlier (between 1940-60) introduced Mozambique tilapia O. mossambicus. Omnivorous, tolerant of wide temperature and water quality and salinity ranges, fast-breeding with an effective reproductive strategy of mouthbreeding to protect and transport its young, and difficult to eradicate, the Nile tilapia, like other tilapia species, has profoundly and negatively effected the biodiversity, ecology and water quality of many ecosystems outside its native range.
(Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, factsheet; Global Invasive Species Database, Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), 2008; Wikipedia 2011)
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