Betta Splendens, the Siamese Fighting Fish
Living reference work entry
Betta splendens, more commonly known as the Siamese fighting fish or Betta, is a small (males, shown in Fig. 1, are around 6.5 cm long, females somewhat smaller) domesticated version of a fish native to small ponds and streams in what today is Thailand (Smith 1927). It is a member of the family Anabantidae. The Betta breathes by means of a lunglike labyrinth organ rather than gills. Through selective breeding over the last 110 years, the Betta has been transformed from a small-finned brown fish to one of the most visually and behaviorally striking of the so-called tropical fish. Both the domesticated male and female have bright iridescent colors, and the male has long, flowing fins. It was first described in the scientific literature by Regan ( 1909) and introduced to the United States in 1927. It is a popular fish not only with amateur and professional aquarists but also with behavioral researchers. The latters’ findings are the focus of this article.
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