The kissing gourami, Helostoma temminkii, is a rather large (20-30 cm long) freshwater fish in the gourami family, found in slow-moving or standing water in Indochina and the Malay archipelago. The species name is sometimes misspelled temminckii. Characteristic of the suborder Anabantoidei to which they belong, M. opercularis have an accessory breathing organ called the labyrinth organ that allows them to survive in waters with low oxygen content by breathing air from the surface. An important food fish, its exact native range is confused by a long history of interaction with humans; it been introduced around the world for aquaculture and commercially farmed for the aquarium trade. Although individuals have been found in the wild in Florida, these are probably individual escapees, Helostoma temminkii does not appear to be established there. Helostoma temminkii’s common name derives from kissing-like lip protrusions that it makes during feeding and sometimes courtship and fighting. Kissing gourami are omnivorous and have a number of feeding methods. Their large, strong lips are covered with enamel-covered “teeth” which they use to dislodge algae from rocks and other surfaces. They also take insects and small invertebrates from the water’s surface, and are specialized filter feeders using their large, developed gill rakers to eat plankton. Unlike related gourami species, kissing gourami scatter their eggs and do not make nests or care for their young. Although heavily fished and collected, kissing gourami are common and abundant in their native environment.
(Coughlin 2006; Fuller and Neilson 2012 2012; Seriously Fish; Wikipedia 2012)
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