Pearl gourami

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Trichogaster leeri family

Osphronemidae taxonomy

Trichopus leeri Bleeker, 1852, Sumatra.

other common names

English: Diamond gourami, lace gourami, mosaic gourami; French: Gourami mosaïque, gourami perlé; German: Mosaikfadenfisch; Spanish: Gurami perla, Gurami mosaico.

physical characteristics

Length 4.7 in (12 cm). Body laterally compressed with short dorsal fin of 5-7 fin spines and 8-10 soft rays; long anal fin with 12-14 spines and 25-30 soft rays. Pelvic fins with an extremely prolonged first soft ray behind the spine, followed by four short soft rays. This pelvic filament reaches up to two-thirds of the fish's total length, is highly movable in all three dimensions, and is used as an organ of taste because its surface is covered with numerous taste buds. A tactile function has also been demonstrated. Males can be distinguished from females by the posterior rays of the soft dorsal and soft anal fin being prolonged and projecting beyond the fin membrane. Coloration of the body consists of a grayish background, with numerous bright white spots all over the body and fins (hence the name "pearl" gourami), a black midlateral stripe that extends from the snout to the caudal peduncle, and a black spot at the base of the caudal fin. Males have bright nuptial coloration, especially when sexually active.

distribution

Freshwaters of Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo.

habitat

Smaller or larger forest streams, usually with slightly acidic water.

behavior

Nothing is known about the behavior of the pearl gourami in the wild.

feeding ecology and diet

No field data on gut contents is available, but judging from the small mouth and the numerous gill rakers, feeds on small aquatic invertebrates.

reproductive biology

The onset of a reproductive period is characterized by an increasing aggressiveness of the male and the establishment of a breeding territory in which it builds a foam nest. Parts of aquatic vegetation or detritus may be incorporated into the foam mass. The foam nest is built from air gulped in at the surface and released as foam-coated bubbles below the nesting site, from either the mouth or the opercular cleft. The male's nuptial coloration is bright orange on the throat, pelvic filament, and anterior anal fin, with numerous bright white spots on the body and fins. Spawning takes place below the nest. The typical spawning clasp is performed. Eggs are usually released when the female's genital opening points to the nest. Up to 135 eggs are released during each bout of spawning, with up to 1,000 eggs per spawning sequence. A short phase (2-10 seconds) of spawning rigor follows egg release, during which the male and female remain motionless in their clasp. Eggs contain a large oil globule that renders them buoyant. Floating eggs are collected by the male and stored in the nest. Hatching occurs after 24 hours at 84.2°F (29°C). Free swimming is achieved after two to three days. The pearl gourami exhibits male parental care.

conservation status

Not listed by the IUCN.

significance to humans

Consumed as a food fish and used in aquaculture. A common and popular aquarium fish. ♦

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