Temporal range: Oligocene - recent
|Nile Perch (L. niloticus)|
G. Cuvier, 1828
Lates is a genus of lates perches native to freshwater and marine waters of Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. Several species are endemic to the Rift Valley lakes. The generic name is also used as a common name, lates, for many of the species.
These fishes range in size from less than 30 cm (12 in) to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in maximum overall length, the largest species reaching weights of up to 200 kg (440 lb). They all have the characteristic centropomid shape, with the two-part dorsal fin and general percoid form.
The Nile perch has become infamous as an invasive species in the east African Lake Victoria, where many native cichlids now are extinct. In contrast to the Nile perch, several smaller members of the genus Lates with relatively restricted African distributions are themselves considered threatened.
The generic name Lates derives from the Latin latēre (to be hidden).
There are currently 11 recognized species in this genus:
- Lates angustifrons Boulenger, 1906 (Tanganyika lates)
- Lates calcarifer (Bloch, 1790) (Barramundi)
- Lates japonicus Katayama & Y. Taki, 1984 (Japanese lates)
- Lates lakdiva Pethiyagoda & A. C. Gill, 2012
- Lates longispinis Worthington, 1932 (Rudolf lates)
- Lates macrophthalmus Worthington, 1929 (Albert lates)
- Lates mariae Steindachner, 1909 (Bigeye lates)
- Lates microlepis Boulenger, 1898 (Forktail lates)
- Lates niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Nile perch)
- Lates stappersii (Boulenger, 1914) (Sleek lates)
- Lates uwisara Pethiyagoda & A. C. Gill, 2012