Mozambique Tilapia, Oerochromis mossambicus: The Mozambique Tilapia is a member of the Cichlidae Family, which consists of fresh and brackish water species which are known in Mexico as tilapia and mojarras de aqua dulce.
The Cichlidae Family is a large family with more than 700 individual species. They are endemic to Africa and have been introduced to lakes and streams of Central America, South America, and India and are farmed commercially. They typically have a deep, compressed body, a long dorsal fin base, and a lateral line that is interrupted and offset.
They have highly evolved reproductive strategies being either mouth brooders, substrate brooders, or a combination of mouth and substrate brooders.
The adult Mozambique Tilapia has an overall "bluegill profile" with three or four black spots on the sides (as pictured below) and a rounded caudal fin. A key to identification is that the Mozambique Tilapia has 16 to 22 gill rakers. It is capable of living and breeding in fresh, brackish, or salt water, thriving in slow moving water of 30 degrees centigrade.
This fish species is found in all coastal Mexican fresh water streams that do not drop below 11 degrees centigrade. It reaches a maximum size of 11 inches but is more common 5.5 to 10 inches.
It is considered to be an opportunistic omnivore, being partially herbivores and also consuming aquatic insects, isopods, and small fish. The Mozambique Tilapia is considered to be an undesirable exotic and release into the wild is discouraged.