The SATA satellite DNA family of sequences, composed of three size variants of approximately 237, 230, and 209 bp, is conserved in the genomes of tilapiine and haplochromine cichlid fishes. In the present study we examined the utility of the SATA sequences for inferring phylogenetic relationships among the three major genera of tilapiine fishes, Oreochromis, Sarotherodon, and Tilapia. Hybridization of the monomer SATA repeat to genomic DNA of representative cichlid species established conservation of the sequence in the African tilapine and haplochromine lineages and its absence from other cichlid lineages. Bootstrapped DNA parsimony and neighbor-joining analyses of derived consensus sequences revealed two distinct clades, one containing the mouthbrooding genera Oreochromis and Sarotherodon, and the other containing the substrate spawning genus Tilapia. These results are consistent with recent independent studies using mitochondrial DNA and establish the utility of the SATA satellite DNA family for phylogenetic reconstruction. Concerted evolution of the SATA sequences was also demonstrated within the tilapiine tribe.