Coptodon rendalli (Boulenger, 1897)
Redbreast tilapia
photo by Seegers, L.

Family:  Cichlidae (Cichlids), subfamily: Pseudocrenilabrinae
Max. size:  45 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 2,500.0 g; max. reported age: 7 years
Environment:  benthopelagic; freshwater; brackish; depth range 3 - 8 m,
Distribution:  Africa: from the middle Congo River basin (Kasai drainage and between the Lomami and Kisangani) up to the upper Lualaba and the Bangweulu area (Ref. 55074). Also in Lake Malawi, Zambesi, coastal areas from Zambesi Delta to Natal, Okavango and Cunene (Ref. 5163) as well as the Limpopo, Malagarasi (Ref. 55074) and Lake Tanganyika (Ref. 55074, 74387). Also present in the Cuanza and Catumbela rivers in Angola (Ref. 11970). Introduced elsewhere usually for weed control and aquaculture. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 15-17; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10-13; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 9-10; Vertebrae: 29-29. Diagnosis: A large, deep-bodied species with a steep head profile, narrow head and small mouth; often appearing brownish with a white belly, some individuals have bright red bellies (Ref. 118638). The sexes look very similar, although males are usually larger (Ref. 118638). Very difficult to distinguish from Coptodon zillii, but C. rendalli usually have a steeper head profile and less prominent vertical bars; in East Africa, the tailfin of C. rendalli is often divided into a brownish upper part and yellowish lower part, whereas that of C. zillii is uniform and spotted (Ref. 118638). Description: moderately deep-bodied, ovoid shaped; head relatively short; mouth small (Ref. 52307). Colouration: head and body mid to dark olive-green dorsally, paling over the flanks (Ref. 4967, 34290). Body usually with vertical bars only (Ref. 4967, 34290), 6-8 on head and body (Ref. 52307). Scales with a dark basal crescent (Ref. 4967, 34290, 52307). Dorsal fin olive-green with a thin red margin and white to grey dark oblique spots on the soft rays; caudal fin spotted on dorsal half and red or yellow on ventral half (Ref. 4967, 34290). Lower lips, throat, lower parts of cheeks and opercles, breast and belly, as well as some lower parts of caudal peduncle, light to deep red (depending on behavioral situation) in most, but not all populations; anal fin reddish (Ref. 52307).
Biology:  It prefers quiet, well-vegetated water along river littorals or backwaters, floodplains and swamps. They are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures (8-41°C) and salinities (Ref. 3, 7248, 118638). Forms schools; is mainly diurnal. Juveniles feed on plankton (Ref. 52307); adults feed on leaves and stems of underwater plants as well as algae, and vegetative detritus (Ref. 52307), insects and crustaceans. A substrate spawner; male and female form pairs to rear the young; eggs and larvae are usually guarded in a steep-side circular pit dug in the mud (Ref. 118638). Occasionally it spawns in large cave-like structures (Ref. 52307), e.g. in Lake Malawi they are reported to dig a network of tunnels at some sites (Ref. 118638). Make excellent eating (Ref. 5214). Widely exploited in fisheries and aquaculture (Ref. 118638).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 20 June 2018 Ref. (123251)
Threat to humans:  potential pest
Country info:   
 

Entered by: Luna, Susan M. - 17.10.90
Modified by: Boden, Gert - 08.10.18
Checked by: Sa-a, Pascualita - 17.08.94

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