A common cichlid of the Epe Lagoon, Lagos, Nigeria is an important food fish and viable candidate for culture in meeting the millennium goal and vision 2020 in the subregion. The intense fisheries of this ecotype also pose a conservation issue. The comparative protein contents of the cichlid fishes were 21.80, 18.34, 19.13, 18.71 and 18.08% for Wesafu,Sarotherodon galileaus, Sarotherodon melanotheron, Tilapia guineensis and Tilapia mariae, respectively. The highest percentage of protein was obtained for Wesafu. The results of the lipid determination showed that Wesafu had 0.9% lipid which is higher than others with T. guineensis having the least (0.4%) value for lipid. The result showed that all the fish studied belong to low oil category and therefore can be classified as lean fish. The major component of fish muscle is moisture. There was a progressive increase in the number of ripe eggs (absolute fecundity) from larger fish to smaller one. However, the relative fecundity followed a reverse order. Female Wesafu produce only a few hundreds to less than 2,000 eggs per spawn but inter-spawning period varied from 25 to 30 days in the present study. It was observed that this parameter (spawning frequency) was not affected by the weight of the broodstock. Although Wesafu could be seen as a commercially important fish species based on its credentials of deeper body, high economic value, in terms of price, white flesh and good taste, its aquaculture potential may be affected by its low fecundity. On the courtship behavior, Wesafu exhibits a characteristic golden yellow radiation during breeding period. During courtship, the fish display a characteristics kissing lifestyle. This appears different from that of Oreochromis niloticus which displays a poking courtship behavior with the female swimming in front while the male pokes the side. The result of this finding showed that of all the brooders in all hapas, only females that had eggs/hatchlings in their mouthparts. This comes to show that Wesafu probably belong to the genus, Oreochromis. Although this study has identified Wesafu as a probable member of the genus, Oreochromis, there is the need to identify the fish at a molecular level to see if it belongs to any of the known species ofOreochromis, or perhaps a simple strain.
Key words: Ecotype cichlid, Wesafu, Tilapiine spp., breeding behavior, proximate composition.
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