In Thailand it is naturally found in the Chao Phraya basin and from the Maeklong basin (Vidthayanon et al. 1997 and Kottelat 2001). Introduced in the Mekong basin (Kottelat 2001) and elsewhere as a result of introductions arising from the ornamental fish trade; its natural range requires some confirmation.
Catalog Number: USNM 21168
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris
Locality: Laos, Asia
Habitat and Ecology
Diseases and Parasites
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Trichopodus microlepis
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Distribution and habitat
The moonlight gourami is native to the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam and Chao Phraya basins. This species has been introduced into the Mekong basin in Thailand. It has also been introduced into Colombia due to escaping from aquarium rearing facilities.
This species is found in ponds and swamps. It occurs in shallow, sluggish, or standing water habitats with a lot of aquatic vegetation. It is also common in the floodplain of the lower Mekong.
Appearance and anatomy
These fish are silvery colored with a slightly greenish hue similar to the soft glow of moonlight. The moonlight gourami’s concavely sloped head distinguishes it from other gourami varieties. The males can be identified by the orange to red coloration of the pelvic fins, as well as the long dorsal fins which ends in a point. In females, the pelvic fins are colorless to yellow, and the dorsal fins are shorter and rounder. During spawning, in males, the orange thread-like ventral fins will intensify and become red.
Like all labyrinth fish, the moonlight gourami has a special lung-like organ that allows it to breathe air directly. Because of this labyrinth organ, it is not unusual to see it go to the surface and gulp air. The ability to breathe air allows the Moonlight Gourami to survive in very low oxygen situations. In fact, if it remains moist it can actually survive out of water for up to several hours.
As with other labyrinth fish, these species are oviparous and employ bubble nests in reproduction and care of fry. The male moonlight gourami begins the spawning process by carefully preparing a bubble nest; this bubble nest tends not to incorporate much plant matter and the bubbles may float around freely. It will then begin to court the female under it by performing a "courtship dance" behavior. Spawning culminates when the male finally wraps itself around the female. While in this embrace, the male turns the female on to her back triggering the female to release her eggs. Up to 2000 eggs may be laid during spawning. The male will fertilize the eggs as they float up to the prepared bubble nest. In the safety of the bubble nest the eggs will incubate for about two to three days before finally hatching.
- Vidthayanon, C. 2012. Trichopodus microlepis. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 09 April 2014.
- Töpfer, Jörg; Ingo Schlindler (2009-05-15). "On the type species of Trichopodus (Teleostei: Perciformes: Osphronemidae)". Vertebrate Zoology (Dresden: Museum für Tierkunde Dresden) 59 (1): 49–51. ISSN 1864-5755. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Trichopodus microlepis" in FishBase. February 2014 version.
- Axelrod, Herbert R.; Emmens, C.; Burgess, W.; Pronek, N. (1996). Exotic Tropical Fishes. T.F.H. Publications. ISBN 0-87666-543-1.