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Any of numerous, mostly freshwater, fish species (genus Tilapia, family Cichlidae), native to Africa. They resemble North American sunfishes; one species grows to 20 lbs (9 kg). Tilapia species are easy to raise and harvest for food; they grow rapidly, resist disease, and eat readily abundant algae and zooplankton. They have been used in warm-water aquaculture systems since the early Egyptian civilization and have been introduced into many freshwater habitats. See alsocichlid.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tilapia, visit Britannica.com.