Tilapia

Tilapia spp. (Tilapia):

Sarotherodon melanotheron. Photo: Keoki Stender

Sarotherodon melanotheron. Photo: Keoki Stender

  • General Information: Once tilapia are introduced in a habitat, they have been found to establish themselves quickly and outcompete native fish. Many species of tilapia are now well-established in Hawaiian waters after their original introduction as baitfish and aquatic vegetation control.  In Hawaii, tilapia can be found in a broad range of conditions, including brackwish water areas and even heavily polluted environments. 
  • Identification: Many species of tilapia in Hawaii have interbred, resulting in hybrids that are difficult to identify. Moreover, some of these hybrids are fertile, making it increasingly hard to differentiate between species, even for experts.