IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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The paradise gourami, or paradise fish, Macropodus opercularis, is a small, aggressive and territorial (about 10 cm long) freshwater fish in the gourami family (Osphronemidae), native to East Asia from Korea to Northern Viet Nam. Established populations have also been introduced in Madagascar and the United States. In the wild it lives in still waters, ponds, ditches and rice paddies. 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. Paradise gouramis are very tolerant of water quality and temperature and are broad-feeding mostly carnivores; their diet includes mosquito larvae. These fish are thought to be one of the first fish introduced to Europe as an ornamental fish, in the mid 1800s, and paradise gouramis have been popular in the aquarium trade since. Males must be kept separate from each other in tanks, however, as they will fight. Like many gouramis, Siamese fighting fish are bubble breeders, and the males build bubble nests at the surface of the water. After courtship, the male wraps himself around the female in a nuptial embrace during which he fertilizes eggs released by the female. He then gathers up the eggs in his mouth and blows them into the nest. This nuptial embrace repeats until the female has no more eggs. The male then tends the eggs until they hatch about 36 hours later. As the Siamese fighting fish, Betta spendens, was bred in Thailand for commercial fighting purposes, so to was Macropodus opercularis bred in Taiwan; it is known as the Taiwanese fighting fish. In Taiwan, pollution and development have reduced native paradise gourami populations and this species considered threatened. Paradise gourami are important predators of mosquito larvae, and increased incidence of Dengue Fever has inspired projects to reintroduce these fish back into the wild, including rearing in government hatcheries for release in the effort to control mosquitoes.

(Chin-ju 2002; Seriously Fish; Wikipedia 2011)

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