Golden Freshwater Clam


Sarotherodon is a large genus in the family Cichlidae (cichlids). It belongs to the tribe Tilapiini in the subfamily Pseudocrenilabrinae. Fish belonging to the tribe Tilapiini are commonly referred to as tilapia and many of the species are appreciated food fishes. The name Sarotherodon is derived from three Greek words: saros which means sawdust, ther which means animal and odous which means teeth. The members of the genus Sarotherodon are native to parts of Africa and the Middle East and inhabit fresh, brackish and salt water.

The genus Sarotherodon currently contains 20 described species and subspecies.

Sarotherodon caroli (Fissi)
Sarotherodon caudomarginatus
Sarotherodon galilaeus borkuanus
Sarotherodon galilaeus boulengeri
Sarotherodon galilaeus galilaeus (Mango tilapia)

Sarotherodon galilaeus multifasciatus
Sarotherodon galilaeus sanagaensis
Sarotherodon linnellii (Blackfin tilapia)
Sarotherodon lohbergeri (Keppi)
Sarotherodon melanotheron heudelotii (Mango fish)

Sarotherodon melanotheron leonensis
Sarotherodon melanotheron melanotheron (Blackchin tilapia)
Sarotherodon melanotheron paludinosus
Sarotherodon mvogoi
Sarotherodon nigripinnis dolloi

Sarotherodon nigripinnis nigripinnis
Sarotherodon occidentalis
Sarotherodon steinbachi (Kululu)
Sarotherodon tournieri liberiensis
Sarotherodon tournieri tournieri

The use of modern DNA techniques has revealed a lot of interesting information about the cichlid family and the genus Sarotherodon is not an exception. According to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence analysis the genus Sarotherodon seem to contain more than one clade. A clade is a taxonomic group comprising a single common ancestor and all the descendants of that ancestor. Mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis also indicates that some of the species from the large genus Oreochromis might actually be more closely related to the species in Sarotherodon. It is however difficult to interpret the results of mtDNA sequence analysis since hybridization is so common among tilapias.

Examples of well known fish species belonging to the genus Sarotherodon are Fissi (Sarotherodon caroli), Blackfin tilapia (Sarotherodon linnellii), Keppi (Sarotherodon lohbergeri) and Kululu (Sarotherodon steinbachi).