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Climbing Gouramies

Climbing gouramies or climbing perches belong to the Anabantidae family. They are distributed in Asia (India to Philippines) and Africa. They have a relatively large mouth with fixed conical teeth on jaws, prevomer, and parasphenoid. They possess a labyrinth organ, a structure in their head which allows them to breath atmospheric oxygen.

Climbing gouramies are primarily freshwater fishes, rarely go into brackish water. They mostly inhabit rivers, canals, lakes, ponds and swamps. Most of them are carnivorous. They can be seen gulping for air on the surface of water or crawling on wet and dry surface.

There are 4 genera and about 31 species worldwide. Malaysia has only one species.

Scientific Name: Anabas testudineus  (Bloch, 1792)
Common Name: Climbing Perch
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 山鯽(Shān zéi), 攀鲈 (Pān lú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Puyu, Pepuyu
Bahasa Indonesia: Ikan Betok
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาหมอไทย (Plā mo thịy), ปลาเสด็จ (Plā s̄edec)
Main Identification Features: Body laterally compressed. Mouth terminal. Iris golden reddish. Operculum serrated with spines. Scales large, ctenoid. Lateral line interrupted. Dorsal spines 16-19. Anal spines 9-11. Posterior margin of opercle and caudal peduncle with dark spot. Caudal fin rounded.
Size: Maximum total length 25 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Possesses an accessory air-breathing organ that enables it to survive out of water as long as the air breathing organ is kept moist. The species can tolerate extremely unfavorable water conditions and can be found in varieties of habitat from rivers to mud fields. Generally an omnivore that feeds on small fishes, molluscs, insects, and plant matter.