WDFW LogoWashington Department of Fish & Wildlife
WDFW LogoConservation

To report an AIS
sighting or to find out
more information call

Questions or comments regarding the state's Aquatic Invasive Species and Ballast Water Management Programs may be directed to:

Allen Pleus
AIS Coordinator
(360) 902-2724

View WAC 220-12-090
Classification - Nonnative aquatic
animal species with photos

Sarotherodon melanotheron (Black Chin tilapia)

Animal Fish
Family: Cichlidae
Classification: Regulated

The Oreochromis species come in a wide range of colors from green or red to black and white or silver. Tilapia are sometimes called sunshine snapper, cherry snapper, Nile perch, and St. Peter's fish.

They are fast growing fish that are often farmed in ponds or tanks for commercial food use. The Sartheradon species are somewhat smaller, and are frequently sold as aquarium species. This includes the red bellied tilapia, Tilapia zillii which is sometimes misidentified as Tilapia melanopleura. According to USGS there are populations of red bellied tilapia in the wild in Eastern Oregon, Western Idaho, and Northern Nevada. Because of the possibility of survival in the wild, the import of tilapia for farming is regulated.