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This study aimed to review the results of the introduction of tilapia and its impacts and consequences on the biodiversity of inland freshwaters of Iran as a baseline to help ecologists and aquaculturists for making a proper decision in this regard. Up to now, four invasive tilapia species viz. Coptodon zillii, O. niloticus, O. aureus, and Amatitlania nigrofasciata have been reported from Iranian inland waters. Introducing tilapia species to the inland waters of Iran will have many severe impacts e.g. it will be possible to hybridize with endemic cichlid species such as Iranocichla hormuzensis and I. persa. The Iranian Fisheries Organization is executor and supervisor of aquaculture programs. It has implemented the development of tilapia farming regardless of the situation of the inland waters of Iran. Unlike many countries, Iran is an arid and semi-arid country with highly sensitive and fragile aquatic ecosystems which have more than 100 endemic species. Any change in the status of these aquatic ecosystems severely threatens their biodiversity. It is almost impossible to remove invasive tilapia species from Iranian inland waters in the current situation. Hence, the only possible solution in the current situation is to adopt an integrated approach to the management of aquatic ecosystems and close the pathways for the further spread of invasive species. This can be done through continuous and comprehensive cooperation between responsible organizations such as the Iranian Fisheries Organization, the Environmental Protection Agency, NGOs and local people.


Tilapia, Invasive species, Hybridization, Ecological niche overlap, Fish biodiversity.

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How to Cite
RADKHAH, A. R., & EAGDERI, S. (2022). Ecological consequences of tilapia species on fish biodiversity of Iran and challenges arising from their introduction. Iranian Journal of Ichthyology, 8(4), 342–350.


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