Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Temperature effects on the distribution of two invasive tilapia species (Tilapia zillii and Oreochromis niloticus) in the rivers of South China.

Abstract

Competitive interactions not only exist between invasive and native fish species but also between different invasive species, especially between those that have broad niche overlap. Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and Redbelly tilapia (Tilapia zillii) are the most common invasive tilapia species in the rivers of South China. There may be specific factors that influence their competitive interactions and disturbance patterns, and temperature has been considered the most important factor. To study how temperature affects the distribution patterns and competitive interactions of these two invasive tilapia species, field surveys and laboratory experiments were conducted. Field surveys showed that latitude affected the ratio but not the biomass of all tilapia species. Nile tilapia was more abundant in the southern (warmer) sites, and Redbelly tilapia was more abundant in the northern (colder) sites. The distribution patterns of the two tilapia species were also related to latitude and minimum winter temperature. The results of the laboratory-based temperature experiments further confirmed that Redbelly tilapia can tolerate lower temperatures than Nile tilapia. However, the Nile tilapia were larger in field surveys, and laboratory experiments also showed that Nile tilapia are stronger competitors in warmer water because of their larger body size. Therefore, we suggest that the distribution patterns of these two invasive tilapia species were related to temperature conditions.