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Distinguishing characters Body shape generally laterally compressed to oval and deep, though variable depending on the environment Figure 1. Lateral line interrupted with cycloid scales. Gill rakers on lower limb of first sexual arch Sexual fin has distinct vertical stripes. Breeding males with red flush to head, lower body, dorsal and caudal fins.
Caudal fin truncate Figures 2 and 3. Genital papillae of male short and conical or bluntly bifid at tip and not tessellated.
Teeth in the jaws in 3 to 7 series, the number tilapia which tilapia size dependent. The outermost teeth are bicuspid and in adults with stout shafts and obliquely truncate major cusps.
Farming tilapia: life history and biology
Lower pharyngeal with firm teeth in approximately triangular dentigerous area. The most diagnostic features are the regular and definitive stripes on the caudal fin, the red flush of the maturity male and the dark margin of the dorsal fin. Body colouration varies depending on environmental, physiological maturity dietary factors.