Tilapiine fish have become one of the mostcommercially important groups of cultured freshwaterfish with in excess of 850 000 tonnes producedannually in a range of countries (e.g. Thailand,Taiwan, China, Philippines, Belgium and the USA).However, poor broodstock productivity, owing to lowfecundity and asynchronous spawning cycles, remainsone of the most significant outstanding constraintsupon commercial tilapia production and its futureexpansion. This paper reviews current understanding ofthe reproductive physiology of tilapia with particularemphasis upon those factors deemed critical tosuccessful broodstock management. Special emphasis isplaced upon factors such as fecundity, egg size,spawning periodicity, ovarian development and theexogenous and endogenous regulatory mechanismsinvolved in their control. Mouthbrooding speciesexhibit higher levels of parental care but fecundityis lower and egg size larger than insubstrate-spawning species. Fecundity, the number ofeggs oviposited per spawning act, can be < 350 inmouthbrooders such as Oreochromis mossambicus(Peters) but can exceed 12 000 in substrate-spawnerssuch as Tilapia zillii (Gervais). Eggs producedby mouthbrooders normally exceed 2 mm in diameterwhilst those of substrate spawners average only 1.5 mm.Interspawning intervals of mouthbrooders generallyaverage 30–50 days whether the fish are held in natural orartificial conditions, although substrate-spawningspecies such as Tilapia zillii can re-spawnafter only 6 or 7 days. The dynamics of theasynchronous pattern of ovarian development adopted bytilapiines are complex and result in the ovary beingdominated by late-vitellogenic/maturing oocytes asearly as 8–10 days after spawning. Advancement ofour understanding of these key areas will be essentialif the present constraints on tilapia culture are tobe overcome.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 8, 2004
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