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Oreochromis shiranus  Boulenger, 1897

Shire tilapia
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Oreochromis shiranus
Male picture by Loiselle, P.V.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Cichlidae (Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Oreochromis: Latin, aurum = gold + Greek, chromis = a fish, perhaps a perch (Ref. 45335).

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic.   Tropical; 23°C - 42°C (Ref. 670); 13°S - 17°S

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Africa: Two subspecies are recognized: Oreochromis shiranus shiranus from Shiré River above the Murchison rapids and Lake Malawi, together with their tributaries in Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique (Ref. 5166, 118630); Oreochromis shiranus chilwae from Lake Chilwa and its basin in Malawi and Mozambique (Ref. 5166, 118638).

6
17Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 13.5, range 17 - ? cm
Max length : 39.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 21)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 15 - 18; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10-13; Anal spines: 3-5; Anal soft rays: 9 - 11; Vertebrae: 29 - 30. Diagnosis: A large, deep-bodied species with 4, rarely 3 or 5, anal fin spines (Ref. 118638). Females and immatures from the Lake Malawi catchment have a dark olive-coloured body, yellow-gold below; other populations, such as those from Lakes Chilwa and Chiuta and the Ruvuma system show a more silvery colour; unusually for Oreochromis, the horizontal stripes are often more prominent than the vertical bars; adult males develop very large jaws and a concave head profile, they are black, with red margins to the dorsal and caudal fins (Ref. 118638). Underwater or in aquaria, males show numerous white spots on the upper half of the flanks, but these fade quickly under stress, so that they appear uniformly black when removed from the water (Ref. 118638).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Found in very shallow waters around Lake Malawi that are densely vegetated, but also in lagoons (Ref. 5595). It can occur at temperatures ranging from 23.0-42.0 °C (Ref. 670). It feeds on detritus and phytoplankton (Ref. 5595). A maternal mouthbrooder (Ref. 118638). A large species heavily exploited in Lake Nyasa [= Lake Malawi] and its catchment; males in particular are fast-growing and the species is cultured commercially in Malawi in cages and ponds (Ref. 118638).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

A maternal mouthbrooder (Ref. 118638). Builds basin-shaped nests in shallow water from 0.15 m to 1.5 m deep, in sand overlaid with mud, in the vicinity of rooted aquatic vegetation; females brood eggs and young in the mouth until the young reach a length of about 10 mm (Ref. 670).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Kullander, Sven O. | Collaborators

Trewavas, E. and G.G. Teugels, 1991. Oreochromis. p. 307-346. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse, G.G. Teugels and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Checklist of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels; MRAC, Tervuren; and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 4. (Ref. 5166)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 119314)

  Least Concern (LC) ; Date assessed: 23 May 2018

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless





Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial; aquarium: commercial
FAO(Publication : search) | FishSource |

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01259 (0.00749 - 0.02115), b=2.98 (2.84 - 3.12), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  2.0   ±0.00 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.27-0.32).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low vulnerability (25 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.