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Spotted Tilapia

Pelmatolapia mariae

Did you know?

  • Tilapia are in the cichlid family. Cichlids are a large and diverse family of fish, with estimations of over 2,000 living species.
  • Spotted tilapia have simple food requirements, highly tolerably of environmental variability, and high fecundity (potential for reproduction), so when in captivity, they can have rapid propagation.
  • This species is monogamous, in which bonded pairs will engage in biparental care. Research has shown that the size of eggs increase when the parents increase the amount of care.
  • This species feed mostly on plant material.
  • Their standard length is 1 foot.

Threat Level

  • Unknown
  • Common
  • Near Threatened
  • Threatened
  • Endangered
  • Critically Endangered
  • Extinct in the Wild


Spotted tilapia are widespread and abundant.


Their geographic distribution ranges from the Central and West African countries of Ghana, Benin, and Cameroon. They have invasive ranges in Florida and Australia.


Spotted tilapia diverse habitats, residing in still or fast-flowing waters, deep or shallow lakes, and in areas with no coverage or rocky and debris-strewn.

we care about spotted tilapia

The Saint Louis Zoo takes care of this species in the Missouri River Aquarium at the end of River's Edge at the Zoo. Learn more about how we are helping wildlife around the world.

Dedicated to Conservation

Find this animal in River's Edge


River's Edge

Take a journey along a mythical waterway through four continents to discover how wildlife, plants and people interact. River's Edge is the Saint Louis Zoo's first immersion exhibit—a lushly planted naturalistic environment showcasing multiple species from around the world.

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