The Sabaki Tilapia (Oreochromis spilurus spirulus) is a medium-sized freshwater ray-finned fish in the Cichlidae family of cichlids.
The Sabaki Tilapia male is a golden-yellow colour with bright blue areas on its fins. The female is yellowish with a series of side blotches. It has rounded yellow eyes. It has thick lips and a down-turned mouth.
It grows to about 16-19 centimetres (6-7 inches) in length.
It is native to the rivers of Kenya and Ethiopia in Africa. It prefers freshwater, but it can also live in brackish water. It prefers still, muddy, warm waters in coastal floodplain and forests. It is benthic, because it lives on the bottom of the river bed.
The Sabaki Tilapia is omnivorous, feeding on aquatic plants, detritus (dead skin or scales), insects, and benthic organisms (animals that live on the bottom of the river).
The female lays about 1,000 eggs in shallow water. The eggs are fertilized in her mouth. She is a mouthbrooder. The eggs hatch after 5-7 days. The young are called wrigglers and they cannot swim. They can swim after about 7 days. The mother takes her young into her mouth to protect them. She does not eat her young.
Location of photographs: Snake Park, Nairobi, Kenya
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM