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Sarotherodon is a genus of tilapiine cichlids endemic to Africa and the Middle East. A few species from this genus have been introduced far outside their native range, and are important in aquaculture. They mainly inhabit fresh and brackish water, but a few can live in salt water (at least for a period). Members of this genus, as well as those of the genera Tilapia and Oreochromis, share the common name "tilapia".

Based on mtDNA sequence analysis, there seem to be several clades in this genus, and a few species of the much larger genus Oreochromis (such as Oreochromis urolepis and the Blue tilapia O. aureus) seem closer to Sarotherodon according to the mtDNA data (see discussion at Wami tilapia). Research is hampered by the fact that hybridization runs rampant in these fishes, which confounds mtDNA data, and that the fast speed of evolution makes choice of appropriate nuclear DNA sequences difficult.[1]


There are currently 13 recognized species in this genus:[2]


  1. ^ Nagl, Sandra; Tichy, Herbert; Mayer, Werner E.; Samonte, Irene E.; McAndrew, Brendan J. & Klein, Jan (2001): Classification and Phylogenetic Relationships of African Tilapiine Fishes Inferred from Mitochondrial DNA Sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 20(3): 361–374. doi:10.1006/mpev.2001.0979
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2013). Species of Sarotherodon in FishBase. April 2013 version.


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