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Tilapia is the fourth most consumed fish in the United States dating back to 2002.
The popularity of tilapia came about due to its low price, easy preparation, and its mild taste.
The delimitation of these genera among each other and to other tilapiines requires more research; mitochondrial DNA sequences are confounded because at least among the species of any one genus, there is frequent hybridization.
As a result, they cannot invade temperate habitats and disrupt native ecologies in temperate zones; however, they have spread widely beyond their points of introduction in many fresh and brackish tropical and subtropical habitats, often disrupting native species significantly.
Tilapia was a symbol of rebirth in Egyptian art, and was in addition associated with Hathor.
It was also said to accompany and protect the sun god on his daily journey across the sky.
Some species, including Tilapia buttikoferi, Tilapia rendalli, Tilapia mariae, Tilapia joka and the brackish water Sarotherodon melanotheron melanotheron, have attractive patterns and are quite decorative.
The tilapiines of North Africa are the most important commercial cichlids.