Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Sarotherodon: Greek, saros, -ou = sawdust + Greek, ther = animal * Greek, odous = teeth (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; freshwater; brackish; demersal; pH range: 7.0 - 8.0; dH range: 9 - 19; depth range 3 - ? m (Ref. 5723). Tropical; 23°C - 25°C (Ref. 2060), preferred ?; 27°N - 14°S, 18°W - 31°E
Africa: Lagoons and estuaries from Mauritania to Cameroon. Introduced to several countries in Asia, USA and Europe (Ref. 21). At least one country reports adverse ecological impact after introduction. Previously, three subspecies were recognized: Sarotherodon melanotheron heudelotii, Sarotherodon melanotheron leonensis and Sarotherodon melanotheron melanotheron.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 13.2, range 13 - ? cm
Max length : 28.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 31256); common length : 17.5 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193)
(total): 15 - 17;
soft rays: 8 - 10;
Vertebrae: 26 - 28. Diagnosis: length of caudal peduncle 0.6-0.9 times in its depth (Ref. 53405). Melanic areas in adult usually present on lower parts of head, on cleithrum and on apices of caudal and soft dorsal fins; occasional irregular and asymmetrical spots on flanks probably representing vertical bars; median spot or transverse bar on nape rather constant (Ref. 2).
This species can tolerate high salinity (Ref. 5723). It occurs abundantly in mangrove areas and ventures in to both fresh, like lower reaches of streams (Ref. 5723) and salt waters in native and non-native ranges (Ref. 46816, 53405). In West Africa, this species is confined to brackish lagoons and estuaries, and is abundant in the mangrove zone (Ref. 2). Forms schools; is mainly nocturnal with intermittent daytime feeding. Feeds on aufwuchs and detritus (Ref. 2), as well as on bivalves and zooplankton (Ref. 28587). Feeding behaviour: picking up and swallowing "bites" (no gill rakers) (Ref. 55661).
Spawns in shallow water close inshore. Initiative in courtship, pit digging and mating activities are taken by the female. Eventually a male is stimulated to react in a mainly passive manner and a pair-bond is established; sexual dimorphism minimal; no T-stand by the partners during fertilization. Exhibits mouth-brooding habit (Ref. 6298). Males exclusively incubate the eggs (Ref. 2, 6309).
Trewavas, E. and G.G. Teugels, 1991. Sarotherodon. p. 425-437. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse, G.G. Teugels and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels; MRAC, Tervuren; and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 4. (Ref. 4999)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial; aquarium: commercial
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5001 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01175 (0.00653 - 0.02113), b=2.97 (2.81 - 3.13), based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.5 ±0.19 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.16).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (16 of 100) .