Nile Perch

The Nile perch (Lates niloticus) is a species of freshwater fish in family Latidae of order Perciformes. It is widespread throughout much of the Afrotropic ecozone, being native to the Congo, Nile, Senegal, Niger, and Lake Chad, Volta, Lake Turkana, and other river basins. It also occurs in the brackish waters of Lake Maryut in Egypt. Originally described as Labrus niloticus, among the marine wrasses, the species has also been referred to as Centropomus niloticus. Common names include African snook, capitaine, Victoria perch (a misleading trade name, as the species is not native to Lake Victoria), and a large number of local names in various African languages, such as the Luo name mbuta or mputa. In Tanzania it is called sangara or sankara, or also chenku. In Francophone African countries it is known as "capitaine" and in Egypt/Sudan as am'kal.

Lates niloticus is silver in colour with a blue tinge. It has a distinctive dark-black eye, with a bright-yellow outer ring. One of the largest freshwater fish, it reaches a maximum length of nearly 2 m (more than 6 ft), weighing up to 200 kg (440 lb). Mature fish average 121–137 cm (48–54 in), although many fish are caught before they can grow this large.

Adult Nile perch occupy all habitats of a lake with sufficient oxygen concentrations, while juveniles are restricted to shallow or nearshore environments. A fierce predator that dominates its surroundings, the Nile perch feeds on fish (including its own species), crustaceans, and insects; the juveniles also feed on zooplankton. Nile perch use schooling as a mechanism to protect them from other predators.

Nile perch have been introduced to many other lakes in Africa, including Lake Victoria (see below) and the artificial Lake Nasser. The IUCN's (World Conservation Union) Invasive Species Specialist Group considers Lates niloticus one of the world's 100 worst invasive species. The state of Queensland in Australia levies heavy fines on anyone found in possession of a living Nile perch, since it competes directly with the native barramundi, which is similar but does not reach the same size as the Nile perch.

The species is of great commercial importance as a food fish. The Nile perch is also popular with sport anglers, as it attacks artificial fishing lures and is also raised in aquaculture.

Read more about Nile Perch:  Lake Victoria Introduction, Fishery, Food

Other articles related to "nile perch":

Darwin's Nightmare - Overview
... The plane came from Europe to ship back processed fillets of Nile Perch, a species of fish introduced into Lake Victoria that has caused the extinction of hundreds of endemic ... villagers, the film discusses the effects of the introduction of the Nile perch to Lake Victoria, how it has affected the ecosystem and economy of the region ... Arms and munitions are often flown in on the same planes which transport the Nile perch fillets to European consumers, feeding the very conflicts which the aid was sent to remedy ...
Nile Perch - Food
... Nile perch bought at the beach by women is usually cut into large pieces and smoke-dried for sale in distant places ... Local people around Lake Victoria prefer to eat tilapia, rather then Nile perch, but in West Africa and also in Sudan and Egypt it is highly appreciated ... In the 1990s the value of Nile perch exports from Lake Victoria reached almost 300 million US$ per year ...
... The type species is Lates niloticus, the Nile perch ... The Nile perch has become infamous as an invasive species in the east African Lake Victoria, where many native cichlids now are extinct ... In contrast to the Nile perch, several smaller members of the genus Lates with relatively restricted African distributions are themselves considered threatened ...

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