Sarotherodon is one of several genera in the family Cichlidae (the cichlid family) and the tribe Tilapiini. The name Sarotherodon is a combination of the Greek words saros, ther and odous which means sawdust, animal and teeth, respectively. Quite a few species of the genus Sarotherodon are popular food fishes

The genus Sarotherodon currently contains 20 described species and subspecies. All of them are native to Africa or the Middle East and live in freshwater, brackish water or marine conditions. Several species that once were considered a part of the famous genus Tilapia are now placed in Sarotherodon instead, but due to their history they are still commonly referred to as tilapia.

Sarotherodon caroli (Fissi)
Sarotherodon galilaeus galilaeus (Mango tilapia)
Sarotherodon linnellii (Blackfin tilapia)
Sarotherodon lohbergeri (Keppi)
Sarotherodon melanotheron heudelotii (Mango fish)
Sarotherodon melanotheron melanotheron (Blackchin tilapia)
Sarotherodon steinbachi (Kululu)

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence analysis has been used to research the genus Sarotherodon, but the results are difficult to interpret since these fishes readily hybridize in the wild, with hybrid offspring being formed within the genus as well as with fish from other genera in the same tribe. Results indicate that the genus Sarotherodon might contain more than one clade*, and that some of the species currently placed in the genus Oreochromis might actually be more closely related to the species found in Sarotherodon.

* A clade is a taxonomic group consisting of a single common ancestor and all its descendants.