Alternate Title

Factors Influencing the Distribution of Blackchin Tilapia Sarotherodon melanotherodon (Osteichthyes: Cichlidae) in the Indian River System, Florida


The blackchin tilapia, Sarotherodon melanotheron, was first collected from the Indian River system, in Brevard County, Florida, in 1980. Since its introduction, this species has expanded its range northward along the coast approximately 37 km, to just north of Whites Point, Brevard County, and southward about 68 km to Vero Beach, Indian River County. Laboratory studies on salinity tolerance indicate an ability of this species to tolerate hypersaline concentrations of at least 100 ppt, and to reproduce in salinities of up to 35 ppt. The northern distribution of blackchin tilapia is almost certainly limited by cold temperature; however, the potential exists for extensive coastal, and possibly inland, invasion south of Its present limits.