19 November 2021

Nile Tilapia – Al Hair

Whilst at the Al Hair Riyadh River my daughter found a fish hiding under a bank. The species is most likely Nile Talapia Oreochromis niloticus or a hybrid Oreochromis (Tilapia). These fish have often been introduced into the lakes and pools of Saudi Arabia, sometimes deliberately, to control mosquito larva. I would like to thank Johannes Els, one of the co-authors of the Freshwater Fishes of Arabia book who kindly helped me with the identification. The Oreochromines are a sub-family of the Cichlidae family of fishes native to Africa and parts of the Levant that have large commercial significance for aquaculture and capture fisheries. The Nile Tilapia has a broad natural distribution spanning from the Nile River basin southwards through the Eastern and Western Rift Valley lakes in East Africa, and westwards through the basins of Lake Chad, Niger, Benue, Volta, Gambia and Senegal rivers. Other areas of the world where the species is found, is due to introductions, such as Saudi Arabia.