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Asian Climbing Perch
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2

 


 


 

Order : Perciformes
Family : ANABANTIDAE
Species : Anabas testudineus
Maximum Length : 23 cm

The Asian Climbing Perch is an adaptable species of forest streams and open-country water bodies. It is commonly seen resting on the substrate of shallow ponds.

Climbing perch are able to survive for some time out of water in damp environments : at such times they gulp air which they retain in a labyrinth organ - this is a specialised structure in the head designed to absorb atmospheric oxygen. In temporarily waterlogged habitats, such as flooded grassland or swamp forest, they are thus able to migrate from one water body to another.

They 'walk' by opening the gill plates for support, and then pushing forward with the strong pectoral, pelvic and tail fins.

The species is best identified by the thickset body and rounded head, and by the small black markings which occur on the gill plates and at the base of the tail. The dorsal fin is long and spiny, and the tail fin short.

It is omnivorous, feeding on plant matter as well as small invertebrates or fish. 

The Asian Climbing Perch is widespread, ranging from India to much of Southeast Asia and East Asia.


Fig 1 : Resting on the substrate of a shallow, silty, open-country pond, Singapore.

Fig 2 : Specimen in an open-country stream in Singapore's western catchment.


References : F1