If you’re looking for a species that exhibits some rather quirky, unusual behaviour, then take a look at this week’s Fish of the Week – the Dwarf gourami (Trichogaster lalius). This small species (usually reaching around 5-6 cm) originates from southern Asia, and has three common colour morphs exhibited by males; females have very subdued colouring and often appear silvery-grey. They have very long, thread-like pelvic fins which they use to feel around their environment, similar to how cats use their whiskers. Like Siamese fighting fish and other members of the Anabantids sub-order, Dwarf gouramis are labyrinth fish, so called because they have a lung-like labyrinth organ which allows them to breathe atmospheric air, and has allowed them to evolve and thrive in ponds and ditches which are low in oxygen. To this end, Dwarf gouramis are bubble nesters, positioning their eggs at the surface of the water where the oxygen content is highest, and have also learnt a great trick to catch insects and other foods above the surface: they can spit water!
Tagged in: Fish of the Week Archive - Freshwater