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Oreochromis tanganicae (Günther).jpg
O. tanganicae
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cichliformes
Family: Cichlidae
Tribe: Oreochromini
Genus: Oreochromis
Günther, 1889
Type species
Oreochromis hunteri
Günther, 1889

Oreochromis is a large genus of tilapiine cichlids, fishes endemic to Africa and the Middle East. Several species from this genus have been introduced far outside their native range, and are important in aquaculture. Members of this genus, as well as those of the genera Tilapia and Sarotherodon, share the common name "tilapia".

The genus contains more than 30 species, and numerous undescribed forms exist. Judging from mtDNA sequence analysis, several clades seem to exist. In addition, some species (such as Oreochromis urolepis and the blue tilapia O. aureus) seem closer to Sarotherodon according to the mtDNA data. Research is hampered because hybridization runs rampant in these fishes, which confounds mtDNA data (see discussion at Wami tilapia), and the fast speed of evolution makes choice of appropriate nuclear DNA sequences difficult.[1]


The 38 recognized species in this genus are:[2]


  • 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
  1. ^ (Nagl et al. 2001)
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). Species of Oreochromis in FishBase. April 2013 version.