The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Oreochromis macrochir
Oreochromis macrochir
(longfin tilapia)

Copyright Info
Oreochromis macrochir (Boulenger, 1912)

Common name: longfin tilapia

Synonyms and Other Names: greenhead bream, greenhead tilapia.

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: A commonly used name is Tilapia macrochir. Distinguishing characteristics, a key, and illustrations were given by Trewavas (1983), and by Skelton (1993). Distinguishing characteristics and a figure also were given by Eccles (1992). Color photographs of fish were given by Axelrod (1993). Maximum size: 40 cm (Skelton 1993).

Size: 40 cm (Skelton 1993).

Native Range: Africa. Sections of south central Africa including Cunene, Okavango, upper Zambezi and Kafue rivers (Trewavas 1983; Skelton 1993).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Oreochromis macrochir are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
HI195820053Hawaii; Maui; Oahu

Table last updated 4/20/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Fish apparently were bred in captivity before being released into the wild, ca. 1958 (Maciolek 1984); this was considered a deliberate introduction (Devick 1991a).

Status: Established in Hawaii.

Impact of Introduction: The overabundance of tilapias in at least one Hawaiian reservoir has possibly had the effect of suppressing production of desirable sport fishes (Devick 1972).

Remarks: Oreochromis macrochir has been replaced by Sarotherodon melanotheron as the second most abundant tilapia (after O. mossambicus?) in many Oahu reservoirs (Devick 1991b). This tilapia species has been widely introduced into Africa and other parts of the world for use in aquaculture (Trewavas 1983; Axelrod 1993; Skelton 1993). In Hawaii, O. macrochir is reported as possibly hybridizing with O. mossambicus (Devick 1972).

References: (click for full references)

Axelrod, H. R. 1993. The most complete colored lexicon of cichlids. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Devick, W. S. 1972. Population densities of tilapia in Wahiawa Reservoir. Project F-9-2, Job 1, Study V. Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. 8 pp.

Devick, W. S. 1991a. Disturbances and fluctuations in the Wahiawa Reservoir ecosystem. Project F-14-R-15, Job 4, Study I. Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. 21 pp.

Eccles, D. H. 1992. FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes: field guide to the freshwater fishes of Tanzania. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy. 145 pp.

Hida, T. S., and D. A. Thomson. 1962. Introduction of the threadfin shad to Hawaii. Progressive Fish-Culturist 24:159-163.

Maciolek, J. A. 1984. Exotic fishes in Hawaii and other islands of Oceania. Pages 131-161 in W. R. Courtenay, Jr., and J. R. Stauffer, Jr., editors. Distribution, biology, and management of exotic fishes. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Morita, C. M. 1981. Freshwater fishing in Hawaii. Division of Aquatic Resources, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Honolulu, HI. 21 pp.

Skelton, P. H. 1993. A complete guide to the freshwater fishes of southern Africa. Southern Book Publishers, Halfway House, South Africa.

Trewavas, E. 1983. Tilapiine fishes of the genera Sarotherodon, Oreochromis, and Danakilia. Publication No. 898. British Museum of Natural History, London, UK.

Tilmant, J.T. 1999. Management of nonindigenous aquatic fish in the U.S. National Park System. National Park Service. 50 pp.

FishBase Summary

Author: Nico, L.

Revision Date: 8/16/2019

Peer Review Date: 7/28/2004

Citation Information:
Nico, L., 2024, Oreochromis macrochir (Boulenger, 1912): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=465, Revision Date: 8/16/2019, Peer Review Date: 7/28/2004, Access Date: 4/21/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/21/2024].

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