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Temporal range: Oligocene - recent[1]
Lates niloticus.png
Nile Perch (L. niloticus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Latidae
Genus: Lates
G. Cuvier, 1828
Type species
Perca nilotica
Linnaeus, 1758
  • Luciolates Boulenger, 1914
  • Pseudolates Alleyne & W. J. Macleay, 1877

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.[2]

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.

Inhabiting a variety of habitats, the Lates species are generally carnivorous, feeding on invertebrates and other fish.

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:[2]


  1. ^ Murray,A.M., Attia,Y.S. A new species of Lates (Teleostei: Perciformes) from the Lower Oligocene of Egypt , Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 2004, 24(2):299–308
  2. ^ a b Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2013). Species of Lates in FishBase. October 2013 version.