|Nile perch (L. niloticus)|
G. Cuvier, 1828
All species are predatory and the Nile perch (L. niloticus), in particular, has become infamous as an invasive species introduced into the East African Lake Victoria, where many native cichlids now are extinct. In contrast to the Nile perch, several members of the genus Lates with relatively restricted African or Asian distributions are themselves considered threatened.
The generic name Lates derives from the Latin latēre (to be hidden).
These fishes range in size from less than 30 cm (1 ft) to 2 m (7 ft) 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.
Distribution and habitat
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) (Japanese Barramundi)
- 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
Species within this genus include:
- Lates gibbus Agassiz 1833
- Lates gracilis Agassiz 1833
- Lates macrurus Agassiz 1833
- Lates noteus Agassiz 1833
- Lates qatraniensis Murray and Attia 2004
Extinct species within this genus lived from the Eocene epoch to Recent, approximately from 37.2 to 0.0 million years ago. Fossils have been found in Africa (Libya, Egypt, Kenya, Tunisia, Chad, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger and Sudan), in Saudi Arabia and in Slovakia.