Anabantoids are also called labyrinth fishes because of acomplexly folded, auxiliary breathing structure derived from the epibranchial of the first gill arch located above the gills in the gill chamber (see Air-breathingfishes). Functionally, the “suprabranchial organ” is the primary breathing structure for many species, and fish in well-aerated aquaria will die if not allowed to gulp air at the surface. In most anabantoids, the male exhales a nest of mucous-covered bubbles among which eggs are laid and which he guards. Anabantid climbing gouramis or climbingperches are African and Asian freshwater fishes that derive their name from their ability to move across wet ground(and supposedly even up wet tree trunks), jerking along by thrusts from the tail while the pectoral fins and gill covers act as props. The Kissing Gourami, Helostomatemmincki, is the sole member of the family Helostomatidae. The peculiar kissing behavior of this species is derived from its feeding habits that involve scraping algae from surfaces using horny teeth on distinctive lips. The function of kissing, in which two individuals repeatedly press their open mouths against each other, is poorly understood.
The family Osphronemidae is divided into four subfamilies and 86 species. The osphronemine Giant Gouramy, Osphronemus goramy, reaches 80 cm in length and is apopular food fish that is cultured throughout Southeast Asia. Its air-breathing abilities make keeping it alive in fishmarkets easy. The Macropodinae includes the Siamesefighting fishes and paradisefishes. Bettas (Siamese FightingFish, Betta) are used extensively in behavioral and geneticstudies. Males are exceedingly pugnacious towards eachother. They are bred and fought like fighting cocks, makingthem one of the few fishes cultured for reasons other thanfood, appearance, or research. Fights to the death in the confines of an aquarium do not reflect real-life situations where a subordinate fish can fl ee from a dominant. Luciocephalinesin the genus Colisa shoot water droplets at terrestrial insects, in a manner analogous to that of the toxotidarcherfishes (Dill 1977a). The luciocephaline Pikehead, Luciocephalus pulcher, is an elongate stalking predator on small fishes with a body form characteristic of other suchpiscivores (elongate jaws, slender body, dorsal and anal finsset far back on body, rounded tail; Locomotion:movement and shape; Attack and capture).
As befits an advanced percomorph, Pike heads have the most protrusible mouth of any teleost. When feeding, the mouth is shot forward rapidly, surrounding the prey. Pikeheadshave an interesting bone in the gular region of their throats that is analogous to the gular plate(s) of the primitivecoelacanth, Bowfin, bichirs, and some elopomorphs; whether thisreinvented gular bone functions in oral incubation of eggs or in mouth protrusion is unclear (Liem1967).
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