Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1970
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1973
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 1970

General Invasion History:

Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique Tilapia) is native to eastward-flowing rivers of southern Africa from the lower Zambezi and Shire Rivers to Algoa Bay, South Africa. It tolerates seawater, and occurs in blind estuaries and coastal lakes in southern Africa, but is usually rare in open seawater (Courtenay et al. 1986; Froese and Pauly 2014). This fish has been widely reared for aquaculture, the aquarium industry, used for aquatic weed control, and as bait for the tuna fishery, and has been widely released in many tropical and subtropical regions, including coastal water and estuaries of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans (Brock 1960; Courtenay et al. 1984; Courtenay et al. 1986; Lever 1996). Most of the populations worldwide come from a few individuals collected in Java, Indonesia in 1938 or 1939. It is not known how these fish came to Java, but they were cultured and widely introduced for mosquito control in Asia and worldwide, after World War II (Lever 1996). Most of the introduced stocks in California are hybrids of the Java strain with O. urolepis (Wami Tilapia), native to the Wami River basin, Tanzania (Lever 1996; Costa-Pierce 2003).

Ironically, given this species' global invasion, the native population is genetically considered endangered by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) due to hybridization with introduced Nile Tilapia (O. niloticus) (Firmat et al. 2013).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

Orechromis spp. (hybrids of O. mossambicus and O. urolepis) were introduced to Coyote Creek, Los Angeles in 1973 for control of midge and mosquito larvae, and aquatic weeds (1973, Knaggs, 1977; Legner and Pelue 1977; Courtenay et al. 1984; Moyle 2002; Costa-Pierce 2003). They occur in the San Gabriel River, the Colorado and Cerritos Lagoons, Long Beach (Knaggs 1977; Courtenay et al. 1984; Dill and Cordone 1997; Valle et al. 1998; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018), and in a 'warmwater beach', near power plant at Carlsbad State Beach (Costa-Pierce 2003). Winter survival at some of these sites is apparently aided by thermal effluents from power and sewage plants (Costa-Pierce 2003).

Invasion History on the East Coast:

Oreochromis mossambicus was apparently introduced and established in the Miami area on the 1960s. In 1972, it was collected in the Comfort Canal, part of the Miami River, and in 1975 in brackish portions of the Miami River (Hogg 1976). In 1972, it was also collected in the Indian River Lagoon (1972, FLMNH 91846, Florida Museum of Natural History 2009). It is established in the Caloosahatchee River estuary (1989, USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018). It occurs from Everglades National Park north to Caloosahatchee River and Cape Canaveral (Courtenay et al. 1974; Dial and Wainright,1980; Baker et al. 2005; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2009). There were multiple releases in Florida by government agencies and private individuals, including for biocontrol of weeds, or escapes from tropical fish farms, aquarium releases, and aquaculture escapes (Courtenay et al. 1974).

Invasion History on the Gulf Coast:

Oreochromis mossambicus  (Mozambique Tilapia) was collected in Tampa Bay tributaries in 1970 (Courtenay et al. 1974), and is now established in Florida Gulf estuaries from the Everglades and Florida Bay to Tampa Bay (USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2022). 


Invasion History in Hawaii:

In 1951 a stock of Mozambique Tilapia was shipped from Singapore to Honolulu. Only 14 fish survived the trip, but these provided the stock for programs that included rearing for tuna bait, control of aquatic weeds, as a food fish, and for sport fishing. By 1960, it was established at all the major islands (Brock 1960; Randall 1987). It is known from marine waters in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu Harbor, Kewalo Basin, Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and Kaneohe Bay (Carlton and Eldredge 2009).

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

In addition to Florida and California, Mozambique Tilapia are known from 10 states in the contiguous United States. Most are single captures from aquarium and aquaculture releases, but established inland populations are known from Arizona, California, Texas, and from hotsprings in Idaho (USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018). In the interior of California, Mozambique Tilapia were found in a small pond in the Salton Sea valley in 1964, and in Imperial Valley in 1968. Extensive releases of Mozambique Tilapias, Wami Tilapias and Tilapia hybrids were made for control of mosquitos and midges in Imperial and Riverside Counties (Legner and Pelsue 1977). By the 1980s, Tilapia were the dominant fish in the Salton Sea, where they survive in increasing saline waters (Dill and Cordone 1997; Moyle 2002).

Mozambique Tilapia, of the strain cultivated in Java, were shipped to St. Lucia from Malaysia in 1949, for rearing as a food fish. From there, fish were transferred to Trinidad, Grenada, Jamaica, Barbados, Martinique, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic in 1949–1953. In 1958, Mozambique Tilapia, reared at Auburn University, were introduced to Puerto Rico for control of algae in irrigation canals in sugar-cane fields. By 1988, they were the numerically dominant fish in three Puerto Rico estuaries (Burger et al. 1988). In 1967, they were introduced to Cuba (Lever 1996). It was introduced to the Bahamas in the 1960s (Barton 1955), and was present on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao by 2006 (Hulsmann et al. 2008).

As noted above, most of the Mozambique Tilapia introduced around the world are descended from a small number of fish collected in Java in 1938 or 1939. How these fish came from Africa to Indonesia is unknown. During World War II, the Japanese valued the fish for aquaculture, and spread it through Indonesia, and to Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. After the war, Mozambique Tilapia were introduced to China, Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the Philippines, and Okinawa. In many of these countries, it became very abundant in fresh and brackish waters, but introductions to more northern regions such as the major Japanese islands and Korea were unsuccessful (Lever 1996).

Mozambique Tilapia is native to southeast Africa, but was introduced outside its range to coastal lagoons in Benin (1980s), Namibia (1974), and Madagascar (1960s-1970s) (Lever 1966). This fish was introduced to the Wilderness Lakes System, on the southern coast of South Africa, west of its native range, in the 1980s (Olds et al. 2011).

Importation of Mozambique Tilapia to Australia was prohibited, but it was nonetheless released, probably by aquarists, or by illegal populations in farm ponds, in southeast Queensland in 1977, and by 1981 it was found in brackish creeks near Townsville and again near Cairns, in 1996. By 2007, it was widespread in river systems of northern Queensland (Webb 1977). In 1981, O. mossambicus was found on the other side of the continent, in Western Australia (Russell et al. 2012).

In the 1950s and 1960s, Mozambique Tilapia were introduced to islands across the Pacific, as bait for ocean tuna fisheries, insect and weed biocontrol, and as an easy food source (Maciolek 1984; Nelson and Eldredge 1991; Eldredge 1994; Lever 1996). Nelson and Eldredge (1991) lists 19 islands with introduced populations from New Guinea and Guam to Tahiti and the Cook Islands. Many of these islands have high elevations and freshwater streams, but some populations have been found in brackish-water ponds, lagoons, and mangroves (Lever 1996). One remarkable invasion occurred when some Mozambique Tilapia were released by the crew of a US Bureau of Commercial fisheries ship, into the lagoon of Fanning Atoll, a remote member of the Line Islands in 1958. In 1976 and 1978, visiting scientists discovered a dense population of O. mossambicus breeding and guarding nests (Lobel 1980).



Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique Tilapia) is a predominantly freshwater fish, but it is capable of surviving and breeding in marine and hypersaline waters. Like most members of the family Cichlidae, it has a roughly oval, laterally compressed body, long dorsal and anal fins, containing both spines and soft rays, prolonged posteriorly, and the pelvic and pectoral fins are pointed. Cichlids have one nostril on each side, a two-part lateral line, with the anterior part of the lateral line higher up on the body, and extremely protractile premaxillaries (Page and Burr 1991). Tilapias are a group of Middle Eastern and African fishes that were formerly grouped in one genus, which was later subdivided into many genera. The tilapias of the genus Oreochromis are widely cultured around the world and frequently are hybridized and selectively bred for food production (Lever 1996; Costa-Pierce 2003).

Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique Tilapia) has a large, oblique mouth that reaches to the front of the eye. The dorsal fin has 15–16 spines and 10–12 rays. The anal fin has 3–4 spines and 9–10 rays. There are 29–33 lateral line scales and 14–20 rakers on the lower limb of the first gill arch. Males are larger than females, and reach a maximum size of 390 mm (Page and Burr 1991; Moyle 2002). The caudal fin is rounded. Young fish have 6–8 black bars on silvery sides. Colors of adults are highly variable due to hybridization. They are usually gray to olive above, with 3–4 dark spots on the sides, pale yellow-to grayish-green on the sides, and yellow below. Breeding males have a black mottled body, mottled with iridescent blue, a bright blue upper lip, a white underside of the head, red pectoral fins, and a red edge to the dorsal and caudal fins (Page and Burr 1991; Moyle 2002).

Most (possibly all) California 'O. mossambicus' are hybrids with O. urolepis (=O. hornorum), Zanzibar, or Wami Tilapia, hybridized in southern California, at the California Fish and Game station in Chino, California, in 1963 for aquatic weed control (Moyle 2002; Costa-Pierce 2003; California Fish Website 2018).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Chordata
Subphylum:   Vertebrata
Superclass:   Osteichthyes
Class:   Actinopterygii
Subclass:   Neopterygii
Infraclass:   Teleostei
Superorder:   Acanthopterygii
Order:   Perciformes
Suborder:   Labroidei
Family:   Cichlidae
Genus:   Oreochromis
Species:   mossambicus


Chromis dumerilii (Steindachner, 1964)
Chromis natalensis (Weber, 1897)
Chromis niloticus mossambicus (Peters, 1852)
Chromis vorax ( Pfeffer, 1893)
Sarotherodon mossambicus ((Peters, 1852) 2001-05-02, None)
Tilapia vorax ((Pfeffer), 1893)
Tilapia arnoldi (Gilchrist & Thompson, 1917)
Tilapia dumerilii ((Steindachner), 1894)
Tilapia mossambica (2001-05-02, )

Potentially Misidentified Species

Coptodon zilli
Coptodon zilli (Redbelly Tilapia) has a large horizontal mouth and a blood-red underside (Page and Burr 1991). It was widely introduced in southern California, but is now extinct in most locations (Moyle 2002; Costa-Pierce 2003).

Oreochromis aureus

Oreochromis aureus (Blue Tilapia) has 12–15 dorsal rays and and 18–26 rakers on the lower limb of the first gill arch. Breeding males have a blue head chin, and breast. Blue Tilapia has been introduced to Florida, the Mississippi and Rio Grande deltas, and in aquaculture along the lower Colorado River (Page and Burr 1991; Dill and Cordone 1997; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018).

Oreochromis niloticus

Oreochromis niloticus (Blue Tilapia) has 11–13 dorsal spines and and 27–33 rakers on the lower limb of the first gill arch. Breeding adults have reddish pectoral, dorsal and caudal fins becoming reddish, and black bars on the caudal fin (Food and Agricultural Organization 2018). Nile Tilapia is established in Robinson Bayou, Mississippi, and has been released in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas (Page and Burr 1991; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018).

Oreochromis urolepis

Oreochromis urolepis (Wami Tilapia) has 15–18 dorsal spines and and 19–27 rakers on the lower limb of the first gill arch. It is nearly identical to O. mossambicus (Page and Burr 1991). Purebred stocks are probably absent in California, but most or California 'mossambicus' are hybrids between O. mossambicus and O. urolepis (Costa-Pierce 2003).



Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique Tilapia) is mouth-brooder. Females incubate eggs and larvae in their mouths. They become mature at 120 to 140 mm, and can reach that size in less than 6 months. Breeding males develop distinctive coloration and establish territories in shallow, weedy areas. They clear circular areas of plants, and actively defend and maintain their breeding arenas. Males display at the edges of the territory. An interested female will follow the male, and occasionally bite the sand or soil at the bottom of the pit. Then the female releases a clutch of eggs, which she takes into her mouth. The male releases milt onto the spot where the eggs were dropped. The female take the milt into her mouth and makes 'mumbling' motions, which ensure fertilization. The female may do this repeatedly, until she has 100–400 eggs in her mouth. The male then chases the female away, and she retreats to a secluded spot to incubate the eggs (Moyle 2002). Eggs hatch in about 3–5 days, and the larvae continue to be incubated in the mouth. The larvae remain in the mother's mouth for about 10–14 days, and then, as early juveniles, remain near the mother, and retreat into her mouth when disturbed. They leave the mother after about 3 weeks, and continue to school in shallow water. A female may have several broods in a season. Lifetime fecundity can range from 300 to 3000 eggs (Froese and Pauly 2018).

Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique Tilapia) is limited to subtropical habitats, but has colonized a wide range of freshwater, estuarine, hypersaline, and inland salt lakes, such as the Salton Sea (Hogg 1976; Moyle 2002; Lever 1996). Its range is limited by its sensitivity to low temperatures, showing signs of cold stress at 15 °C and death at 9–10 °C (Shafland and Pestrak 1982), but it has survived temperatures up to 42 °C (Froese and Pauly 2018). Mozambique Tilapia are widespread in freshwater, but can also tolerate and breed in salinities as high as 80 PSU (Costa-Pierce 2003). The common 'California Mozambique Tilapia', O. mossambicus X O. urolepis hybrids maintain effective osmoregulation at salinities up to 65 PSU, but at salinities of 75–95 PSU, they show signs of cellular stress (Sardella et al. 2004). Temperature and salinity interact to affect survival. High salinities (60 PSU) are best tolerated at 20 °C, compared to low temperatures (11–16 C) and high temperatures (33–38 °C) (Lorenzi and Schrenk 2014). Thermal effluents in southern California may have enhanced winter survival (Knaggs 1977). Habitats include vegetated ponds and creeks, marshes, mangroves, canals, lagoons, and slow-flowing rivers (Hogg 1976; Lobel 1980; Knaggs 1977; Moyle 2002; Froese and Pauly 2018). While Mozambique Tilapia can tolerate high salinities, they are most common in closed lagoons or estuaries with limited seawater exchange, and are rarely found in open estuaries or coastal waters (Hogg 1976; Lobel 1980; Knaggs 1977; Moyle 2002; Froese and Pauly 2018). They are also tolerant of low oxygen. In the Salton Sea, Mozambique Tilapia feed mostly at the surface when the water is hypoxic (Riedel and Costa-Pierce 2005).

Mozambique Tilapia are omnivorous, with long, coiled intestines, and are capable of feeding on algae and vascular plants, but also benthic invertebrates and insect larvae, and occasionally, small fishes (Riedel and Costa-Pierce 2005; Froese and Pauly 2018). However, they may lack enzymes that permit them to digest plant material efficiently (Moyle 2002). As a fish that can multiply rapidly and reach high abundances they are a resource for predatory fishes and birds (Lobel 1980). Motives for introduction have included use as bait for tuna in Hawaii (Brock 1960) and as forage fish of introduced Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salomoides) in South Africa (de Moor and Burton 1988).


algae, invertebrates, detritus


Birds, fish, Humans

Trophic Status:




General HabitatFresh (nontidal) MarshNone
General HabitatGrass BedNone
General HabitatSwampNone
General HabitatNontidal FreshwaterNone
General HabitatTidal Fresh MarshNone
General HabitatUnstructured BottomNone
General HabitatCanalsNone
General HabitatMangrovesNone
Salinity RangeLimnetic0-0.5 PSU
Salinity RangeOligohaline0.5-5 PSU
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Salinity RangeHyperhaline40+ PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Vertical HabitatNektonicNone

Life History

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)11.2\Shafland and Pestrak 1982; Schofield and Kline 2018
Maximum Temperature (ºC)38Moyle 2002
Minimum Salinity (‰)0This species occurs and reproduces in freshwater.
Maximum Salinity (‰)120Costa-Pierce 2003
Minimum Reproductive Temperature20Moyle 2002
Minimum Reproductive Salinity0This is a freshwater species.
Maximum Reproductive Salinity80Field data (Costa Pierce 2003)
Minimum Length (mm)120Length at maturity, 120-140 mm (Moyle 2002)
Maximum Length (mm)390Page and Burr 1991
Broad Temperature RangeNoneSubtropical-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneNontidal Limnetic-Hyperhaline

General Impacts

Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique Tilapia) has been listed by the Invasive Species Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as one of the '100 worst invasive species', on the basis of its widespread ecological impacts. It has been introduced for a wide range of purposes, including aquaculture, stocking for fisheries, as a baitfish for tuna, as a forage fish for game fishes, the control of aquatic plants, mosquito larvae and midges. Its frequent over-reproduction and stunting have led to mixed results in aquaculture and as a stocked food-fish. Its omnivorous feeding and sensitivity to low temperatures has led to limited success against the targeted plants and insects (Lever 1996; Moyle 2002). In some regions of the world, benefits from fisheries, aquaculture and biocontrol are perceived to outweigh the negative ecological impacts, while in others, negative impacts of Mozambique Tilapia predominate (Lever 1996; Deines et al. 2015). Some releases, in Florida and elsewhere, have been associated with the aquarium trade (Hogg 1976; Dial and Wainwright 1984). However, web searches indicate that this fish needs a large aquarium, and that smaller, more colorful fishes are more practical for the hobbyist.

Economic Impacts

Fisheries- Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique Tilapia) has been widely introduced around the world as a food fish to be raised in ponds, or stocked in the wild, for food and sport. One of the advantages of tiliapias is their ability to subsist heavily on plant matter, although their lack of cellulase limits their ability to digest plants efficiently (Moyle 2002). Their reception as a food-fish varies around the world culturally. In some regions of India and Indonesia, it has replaced more preferred native fishes, but has also provided a new source of nutrition for poor people (Lever 1996). On Fanning Atoll, in the Line Islands, where a dense population of Mozambique Tilapia is established, the islanders blamed the tilapia for the reduced abundance of native fishes, but did not use the tilapia for food or bait (Lobel 1980). In traditional Hawaiian fishponds, it was found to compete with Striped Mullet (Mugil cephalus) for food (algae and detritus) (Randall 1987). In Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu, it is considered to impede traditional aquaculture (Nelson and Eldredge 1991). On many Pacific islands, eradication programs for tilapia have been conducted in order to protect native species and preserve traditional fisheries (Nico and Walsh 2011). In other places, such as Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea, Mozambique Tilapia has been regarded positively as a food source (Lever 1996). Negative features of Mozambique Tilapia in aquaculture include a tendency for fast population growth followed by stunting and starvation, reduction of food stocks for other fishes, and in cooler climates, a tendency for mass die-offs (Lever 1996; Moyle 2002; Invasive Species Specialist Group 2018). Other species of Oreochromis, especially with O. aureus, O. niloticus, and their hybrids have been bred selectively for improved growth and food quality in aquaculture operations around the world (Casal 2006; Firmat et al. 2013).

'California Mozambique Tilapia' are a well-established sport-fisheries species in Salton Sea, California, an accidentally created large salt lake in the Imperial Valley. The lake, created by a canal rupture, has been slowly evaporating, and steadily increasing in salinity (currently 56 g/L). It was initially stocked with marine sport fishes, but tilapia are the main survivors and still sustain a sport fishery (Moyle 2002; Riedel and Costa-Pierce 2005). However, websites indicate that mass die-offs of the fish are frequent, and pollution concerns limit the use of the fish as food.

Some of the introductions of O. mossambicus have been motivated by fisheries for other fishes. In Hawaii, and many Pacific Islands, Mozambique Tilapia were stocked in lagoons and ponds as potential bait for tuna fisheries (Brock 1960; Lobel et al. 1980; Maciolek 1984). However, this fish was not active or silvery enough to attract tuna (Randall 1987). In South Africa, O. mossambicus was introduced outside its native range, in part as forage for introduced Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides (De Moor and Burton 1996; Olds et al. 2011).

Agriculture, Health, Aesthetics- Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique Tilapia), as a rapidly reproducing omnivorous fish, has been widely introduced for control of aquatic weeds and insects in canals, ponds, creeks, and reservoirs (Lever 1996). Releases in southern California lagoon, rivers, and canals, and in agricultural canals in the Imperial Valley-Salton Sea areas were intended both for insect and aquatic weed control. Initial observations indicated that the fish reduced both weeds that were clogging canals, and midge swarms (Legner and Pelsue 1977; Dill and Cordone 1997). Successful results in weed and insect control were reported in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea. However, these successes must be weighed against negative impacts on local fisheries and native fish biodiversity (Lever 1966). The omnivorous nature of tilapia means that they may not feed heavily on the targeted plants or insects. The territorial behavior of males may keep populations below the levels need for biocontrol. In California and other places subject to cool weather, die-offs are likely. Moyle (2002) considers that one of the risks created by O. mossambicus, in California, is the temptation to introduced species with lower temperature tolerance, such as O. aureus or O. niloticus, more likely to colonize a larger part of the state. Stocking of Mozambique Tilapia for biocontrol has largely stopped because of concern about effects on native species (Dill and Cordone 1997).

Ecological Impacts

Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique Tilapia) has been introduced over such a large part of the world that it has encountered and affected a very wide range of species and ecosystems. Its biggest impacts have been on rare localized fishes, such as the California Pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius spp.) of the desert Southwest, the Bahama Pupfish of Bahama salt lakes (C. laciniatus) and the New Caledonia Galaxiid (Galaxias neocaledonicus). These isolated species are especially threatened through competition and predation (Barton 1995; Schoenherr 1998; Invasive Species Specialist Group 2018). The Mozambique Tilapia has also adversely affected some aquatic birds through competition, including the Guam Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus guami) and the now-extinct Marianas Mallard (Anas oustaleti (Lever 1996). At the same time, as a rapidly reproducing fish, they may provide prey for native predators, including predatory fishes and birds (Lobel 1980; Lever 1996).

Regional Impacts

SP-XXINoneEcological ImpactCompetition
Oreochromis mossamibicus is suspected of competing for food (soft algae and detritus) with Mugil cephalus (Striped Mullet) (Randall 1987).
SP-XVINoneEcological ImpactCompetition
Local fishermen on Fanning Atoll believed that Mozambique Tilapia have led to decreased stocks of Bonefish (Albula spp.), Milkfish (Chanos chanos) and Mullet (Mugil spp.) (Lobel 1980).
SP-XVINoneEcological ImpactFood/Prey
Mozambique Tilapia were a major prey item for predatory fishes (Jacks, Caranx spp.; Reef Blacktip Sharks, Carcharhinus melanopterus) (Lobel 1980).
NEP-VIPt. Conception to Southern Baja CaliforniaEcological ImpactHybridization
Mozambique Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) (probably already hybridized with O. urolepis), stocked in southern California ponds, canals, and lagoons, together with Wami tilapia (O. urolepis) for weed and insect control (Legner and Pelsue 1977; Dill and Cordone 1997; Costa-Pierce 2003). Purebred O. urolepis are no longer present in southern Califonia Costa-Pierce 2003). 'California Mozambique Tilapia' are hybrids (Moyle 2992; California Fish Website 2018).
CAR-VNoneEcological ImpactCompetition
Oreochromis mossambicus, together with Poecilia latipinna (Sailfin Molly) is believed to be threatening the native Bahamas Pupfish (Cyprinodon laciniatus) in Bahamas salt lakes, through competition and predation (Barton 1995).
CAR-VNoneEcological ImpactPredation
Oreochromis mossambicus, together with Poecilia latipinna (Sailfin Molly) is believed to be threatening the native Bahamas Pupfish (Cyprinodon laciniatus) in Bahamas salt lakes, through competition and predation (Barton 1995).
SP-XINoneEconomic ImpactFisheries
Larege populations of Mozambique Tilapia in lagoons and fishponds are reported to impede traditional aquaculture on Nauru, Tongatapu and Nomuka islands, Tonga, and Fanafuti Atoll, Tuvalu (Nelson and Eldredge 1991)

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
EA-III None 0 Native Estab
EA-IV None 0 Native Estab
WA-V None 0 Native Estab
NWP-2 None 1954 Def Estab
NWP-3a None 1982 Def Estab
EAS-VIII None 1938 Def Estab
EAS-I None 1944 Def Estab
EAS-II None 1950 Def Estab
EAS-III None 1950 Def Estab
AUS-XII None 1981 Def Estab
SP-I None 1956 Def Estab
SP-XXI None 1973 Def Estab
SP-XVI None 1958 Def Estab
SP-III None 1957 Def Estab
SP-II None 1959 Def Estab
SP-IV None 1954 Def Estab
SP-V None 1956 Def Estab
SP-VII None 1954 Def Estab
SP-IX None 1955 Def Estab
SP-VIII None 1955 Def Estab
SP-XI None 1963 Def Estab
SP-XIII None 1989 Def Estab
SP-XII None 1955 Def Estab
SEP-H None 1975 Def Estab
NEP-VI Pt. Conception to Southern Baja California 1973 Def Estab
CAR-IV None 1955 Def Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 1972 Def Estab
WA-IV None 0 Def Estab
CIO-II None 1970 Def Estab
CAR-II None 1994 Def Estab
S190 Indian River 1970 Def Estab
G070 Tampa Bay 1970 Def Unk
P050 San Pedro Bay 1973 Def Estab
CIO-III None 1982 Def Estab
P045 _CDA_P045 (Santa Ana) 1974 Def Estab
P040 Newport Bay 1978 Def Unk
P023 _CDA_P023 (San Louis Rey-Escondido) 2003 Def Unk
CAR-III None 1985 Def Estab
RS-3 None 1994 Def Estab
CAR-V None 1965 Def Estab
S200 Biscayne Bay 1972 Def Estab
G050 Charlotte Harbor 1989 Def Estab
AUS-IV None 1992 Def Estab
AUS-III None 1981 Def Estab
MED-X None 0 Def Failed
EAS-VI None 1944 Def Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Baker, Patrick; Baker, Shirley M.; Fajans, Jon (2004) Nonindigenous marine species in the greater Tampa Bay ecosystem., Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Tampa FL. Pp. <missing location>

Barton, Michael (1999) Threatened fishes of the world: Cyprinodon laciniatus Hubbs & Miller, 1942 (Cyprinodontidae)., Environmental Biology of Fishes 55: 422

Brock, Vernon E. (1960) The introduction of aquatic animals into Hawaiian waters, Internationale Revue der Gesamten Hydrobiologie 45(4): 463-480

Burger, Joanna; Cooper, Keith; Gochfeld, Deborah J.; Saliva, Jorge E.; Safina, Carl; Lipsky, David; Gochfeld, Michael (1992) Dominance of Tilapia mossambica, an introduced fish species, in three Puerto Rican estuaries, Estuaries 15(2): 239-245

Carlton, James T.; Eldredge, Lucius (2009) Marine bioinvasions of Hawaii: The introduced and cryptogenic marine and estuarine animals and plants of the Hawaiian archipelago., Bishop Museum Bulletin in Cultural and Environmental Studies 4: 1-202

Casal, Christine Marie V. (2006) Global documentation of fish introductions: the growing crisis and recommendations for action., Biological Invasions 8: 3-11

Coles S. L., DeFelice R. C., Eldredge, L. G. (1999a) Nonindigenous marine species introductions in the harbors of the south and west shores of Oahu, Hawaii., Bishop Museum Technical Report 15: 1-212

Costa-Pierce, Barry A. (2003) Rapid evolution of an established feral tilapia (Oreochromis spp.): the need to incorporate science into regulatory structures., Biological Invasions 5: 71-84

Courtenay, Walter Jr., Sahlman, Harry F., Miley, Woodard W.&Herrema, David J. (1974) Exotic Fishes In Fresh And Brackish Waters Of Florida, Biological Conservation 6(4): 292-302

Courtenay, Walter R., Jr., Hensley, Dannie A., Taylor, Jeffrey N., McCann, James A. (1986) Distribution of exotic fishes in North America, In: Hocutt, Charles H., and Wiley, E. O.(Eds.) The Zoogeography of North American Freshwater Fishes. , New York. Pp. 675-698

Courtenay, Walter R., Jr.; Hensley, Dannie A.; Taylor, Jeffrey; McCann, James A. (1984) Distribution of exotic fishes in the continental United States., In: Courtenay, Walter R., and Stauffer, Jay R.(Eds.) Distribution, Biology, and Management of Exotic Fishes. , Baltimore, MD. Pp. <missing location>

de Iongh, H. H., van Zon, J. C. J. (1993) Assessment of impact of the introduction of exotic fish species in north-east Thailand, Aquaculture and Fisheries Management 24(3): 279-289

De Moor, I. J. (1996) Case studies of the invasion by four alien fish species (Cyprinus carpio, Micropterus salmoides, Oreochromis macrochir and O. mossambicus) of freshwater ecosystems in southern Africa, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 51: 233-255

Deines, Andrew M.; Wittmann, Marion E.; Deines, Jillian M.; Lodge, David M. (2016) Tradeoffs among ecosystem services associated with global tilapia introductions, Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture 24(2): 178-191

Dial, Stephen; Wainright,Sam (1983) New Distributional Records for Non-Native Fishes in Florida, Florida Scientist 46(1): 8-15

Diaz-Ferguson, Edgardo; Allard. Angelica; Mendizabal. Marco; Ramos, Carlos (2022) Genetic structure of the invasive Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus (Perciformes, Cichlidae) and molecular identification of tilapia species in Panama using barcode, PANAMJAS 17(1): 62-70

Dill, William A.; Cordone, Almo J. (1997) History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996, California Department of Fish and Game Fish Bulletin 178: 1-414

Eldredge, L.G. (1994) Perspectives in aquatic exotic species management in the Pacific Islands Vol. I. Introductions of commercially significant aquatic organisms to the Pacific islands, South Pacific Commission. Inshore Fisheries Research Project, Technical Document 7: 1-127

Englund, R.A.; Arakaki, K.; Preston, D.J.; Coles, S.L.; Eldredge, L.G. (2000) <missing title>, Hawaii Biological Survey, Bishop Museum, Honolulu. Pp. <missing location>

Finger, Kenneth L.; Peterson, Dawn E.; Pehl, Curtis W.; Lipps Jere H (2004) The continuing plight of microfauna in an urban lagoon., Abstracts with Programs Geological Society of America 36(5): 382-383

2009-2013 Invertebrate Zoology Master Database.

Fricke, Ronald; Kulbicki, Michel; Wantiez, Laurent (2011) Checklist of the fishes of New Caledonia, and their distribution in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (Pisces), Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde A Neue Serie 4: 341–463

2002-2014 FishBase.(World Wide Web electronic publication)..

Fuller, Pam. L.; Nico, Leo; Williams, J. D. (1999) Nonindigenous fishes introduced into inland waters of the United States, American Fisheries Society, Bethesda MD. Pp. <missing location>

Golani, Daniel; Lerner, Amit (2007) A long-term study of the sandy shore ichthyofauna in the northern Red Sea (Gulf of Aqaba) with reference to adjacent mariculture activity., Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 14: 255-264

Hauxwell, Jennifer; McClelland, James; Behr, Peter J.; Valiela, Ivan (1998) Relative importance of grazing and nutrient controls of macroalgal biomass in three temperate shallow estuaries., Estuaries 21(2): 347-360

Hogg, Randall C. (1976) Established Exotic Cichlid Fishes In Dade County, Florida, Florida Scientist 39(2): 97-103

Horn, Michael H.; Allen, Larry G. (1981) Ecology of fishes in upper Newport Bay, California: seasonal dynamics.and comnunity structure, California Department of Fish and Game, Marine Resources Technical Report 45: 1-102

Hubbs, Clark, Lucier, Thomas, Garrett, Gary P., Edwards, Robert J., Dean, S. Michael, Marsh, Edie, Belk, Denton (1978) Survival and abundance of introduced fishes near San Antonio, Texas, Texas Journal of Science 30(4): 369-376

Hulsman, H.; Vonk, R.; Aliabadian, M. ; Debrot, A.O.;Nijman, V. (2008) Effect of introduced species and habitat alteration on the occurrence and distribution of euryhaline fishes in fresh- and brackish-water habitats on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao (South Caribbean), Contributions to Zoology 77(1): 45-52

2008 <i>Oreochromis niloticus</i> (fish).

Jaafar, Zeehan; Yeo, Darren C. J.; Tan, Heok Hui; O’Riordan, Ruth M. (2012) Status of estuarine and marine non-indigenous species in Singapore, Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 25: 79-92

James, Shelley A.; Bolick, Holly; Suzumoto, Arnold (2010) <missing title>, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan. Pp. 1-10

Knaggs, Eric (1977) Status of the genus Tilapia in California waters., California Nevada Wilidlife Transactiona 1977: 60-67

Kushlan, James A. (1986) Exotic Fishes Of The Everglades: A Reconsideration Of Proven Impact, Environmental Conservation 13(1): 67-69

Legner, E. F.;Pelsue, F. W. (1877) Adaptations of tilapia to Culex and chironomid midge ecosystems in south California, None 45(Proceedings of ): 95-97

Lever, Christopher (1996) Naturalized fishes of the world, Academic Press, London, England. Pp. <missing location>

Lobel, P. S. (1980) Invasion by the Mozambique tilapia (Sarotherodon mossambicus; Pisces; Cichlidae) of a Pacific atoll marine ecosystem, Micronesica 16(2): 349-355

Loftus, William F. & Kushlan, James A. (1987) Freshwater Fishes Of Southern Florida, Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Science 31(4): 147-344

Lorenzi, Varenka; Schlenk, Daniel (2014) Impacts of combined salinity and temperature extremes on different strains and species of Tilapia inhabiting the watershed of the Salton Sea, North American Journal of Fisheries Management 76: 211-221

Maciolek, J. A. (1984) Exotic fishes in Hawaii and other islands of Oceania., In: Courtenay, W. R., Jr., and Stauffer, J. R., Jr.(Eds.) Distribution, Biology, and Management of Exotic Fishes. , Baltimore, MD. Pp. 131-161

MacKenzie, Richard Ames; Bruland, Gregory L. (2012) Nekton communities in Hawaiian coastal wetlands: the distribution and abundance of introduced fish species, Estuaries and Coasts 35: 212-226

Marrack, Lisa (2016) Modeling potential shifts in hawaiian anchialine pool habitat and introduced fish distribution due to sea level rise, Estuaries and Coasts 39: 781-797

McCrary, Jeffrey K.; Murphy, Brian R.; Stauffer, Jay R., Jr.; Hendrix, Sherman S. (2007) Tilapia (Teleostei: Cichlidae) status in Nicaraguan natural waters., Environmental Biology of Fishes 78: 107-114

McKaye, Kenneth R., Ryan, Joseph D., Stauffer, Jay R., Jr., Lopez Perez, Lorenzo J., Vega, Gabriel I., Van den Berghe, Eric P. (1995) African tilapia in Lake Nicaragua, BioScience 45(6): 406-411

Morgan, David L.; Gill, ;Howard S.; Maddern, Mark G; Beatty. .; Stephen J. (2004) Distribution and impacts of introduced freshwater fishes in Western Australia, New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38: 511-523

Moyle, Peter B. (2000) A list of freshwater, anadromous, and euryhaline fishes of California., California Fish and Game 86(4): 244-258

Nelson, Stephen G; Eldredge, Lucius (1991) Distribution and status of introduced cichlid fishes of the genera Oreochromis and Tilapia in the islands of the South Pacific and Micronesia, Asian Fisheries Science 4: 11-22

Nico, L. G; Walsh, S. J. (2011) Island invasives: eradication and management, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. Pp. 97-107

Okolodkov, Yuri B. and 7 authors (2007) Especies acuáticas no indígenas en México., Ciencia y Mar 11(32): 29-67

Olds, A. A.; Smith, M. K. S.; Weyl, O. L. F.; Russell, I. A. (2011) Invasive alien freshwater fishes in the Wilderness Lakes System, a wetland of international importance in the Western Cape Province, South Africa, African Zoology 46: 179-184

Page, Lawrence M.; Burr, Brooks M. (1991) Freshwater Fishes: North America North of Mexico, Houghton-Mifflin, Boston. Pp. <missing location>

Randall, John E. (1987) Introductions of marine fishes to the Hawaiian Islands, Bulletin of Marine Science 41(2): 490-502

Riedel, Ralf; Costa-Pierce, Barry A. (2005) Feeding ecology of Salton Sea Tilapia (Oreochromis spp.), Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 104(1): 26-36

Rodríguez, Eliaira; Ron, Ernesto; Mikolji, Iván; Fuentes, José L.; Lasso-Alcalá, Oscar M. (2022) Invasive Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus), dominates Southeastern Caribbean Sea island estuary, Memoria de la Sociedad de Ciencias Narturales La Salle 79(188): 75-104

2014-2022 California Fish Website. Web database

Sardella, Brian A.; Matey, Victoria; Cooper, Jill; Gonzalez, Richard J.; Brauner, Colin J. (2004) Physiological, biochemical and morphological indicators of osmoregulatory stress in ‘California’ Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus × O. urolepis hornorum) exposed to hypersaline water, Journal of Experimental Biology 207: 1399-1413

Schoenherr, Allan A. (1988) A review of the life history and status of the Desert Pupfish, Cyprinodon macularius, Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 87: 104-134

Schofield, P. J.; Morris, J. A., Jr.; Akins, L. (2009) <missing title>, US Geological Survey, Gainesville FL. Pp. <missing location>

Shafland, Paul L.; Pestrak, James M. (1982) Lower lethal temperatures for fourteen non-native fishes in Florida, Environmental Biology of Fishes 7(2): 149-156

Stafford, Heath; Willan, Richard C. (2007a) <missing title>, state of Queensland, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Cairns. Pp. <missing location>

1996-2014 NMNH Fish Collection Database..

2003-2022 Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, FL.

Valle, Charles F.; O’Brien, John W.; Wiese, Kris B. (1998) Differential habitat use by California halibut, Paralichthys californicus, barred sand bass, Paralabrax nebulifer, and other juvenile fishes in Alamitos Bay, California., Fisheries Bulletin 97: 646-660

Webb, Alan Charles (2007) Status of non-native freshwater fishes in tropical northern Queensland, including establishment success, rates of spread, range and introduction pathways, Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales 149: 63-78

Wu, Liang; Yang, Jinzeng (2012) Identifications of captive and wild tilapia species existing in Hawaii by mitochondrial DNA control region sequence, PLOS ONE 7(12): e51731