Distribution of the black mangrove cichlid (Tilapia mariae) in Australia

The black mangrove cichlid or ‘spotted tilapia’ is a species of deep-bodied fish belonging to the family Cichlidae. Native to West Africa, its distribution extends from the Ivory Coast through Ghana and Nigeria to Cameroon. Throughout this range the species is often found in the deeper sections of larger rivers and lagoons but also moves into flowing streams during the rainy season.

Black mangrove cichlids have become a desirable aquarium species as they are hardy, readily reproduce and have attractive body and fin colouration. This popularity has led to the species being exported to many countries outside Africa. The ability of black mangrove cichlids to adapt to a wide range of ecological conditions has enabled them to become a highly invasive pest. For example, in the United States the black mangrove cichlid has established  self-sustaining populations in several states, including Florida, Arizona, California and Nevada. Self-sustaining  populations of this species reportedly also occur in Russia (unconfirmed) and unfortunately, in Australia.

This fact sheet outlines the introduction and distribution of T. mariae in Australia. Produced by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions as part of the PestSmart series.

Author Centre for Invasive Species Solutions
Year 2014
Publisher Centre for Invasive Species Solutions
Pages 2 pp
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: TILFS5
Region Australia - national
Documents TILFS5 PestSmart Factsheet: Distribution of the black mangrove cichlid (Tilapia mariae) in Australia [320 kb PDF]