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LEXICON

 

 

Gangetic Koi

Common name for a species of freshwater fish, with the scientific designation Anabas cobojius, of the genus Anabas, which consists of only two recognized species, the other one being the Climbing Perch (Anabas testudineus - fig.). Both are a kind of climbing gourami and occur in South Asia (the name indicates an association with the Ganges River), East Asia and Southeast Asia, where they are important as food fish. The possession of a so-called labyrinth organ, an extension of the gill plates, i.e. the bone that anchors the gills and which consists of multiple folds covered with tiny blood vessels that take oxygen from the air, allow this species to breathe atmospheric oxygen. Hence, it has the ability to survive out of water for extended periods of time, i.e. up to 8 hours if kept moist, which improves its marketability as fresh fish, especially on markets. Gangetic Koi are known to inhabit both fresh and brackish water, and are found in the Mekhong Delta in Vietnam, for one. They are carnivorous and feed on water invertebrates and their larvae. These sturdy-looking fish can grow to a length of 30 centimeters and have a greyish-brown colour, which is dark above and paler below, with a silvery shine. Another characteristic of the Gangetic Koi is that it guards its eggs. In Thai, this fish is known as pla moh (ปลาหมอ), against pla moh thai (ปลาหมอไทย), which is used for the Climbing Perch. The climbing gourami occurs in the Thai proverb: pla moh taai pro pahk, i.e. climbing gourami die because of their mouths, which means to be hung by the tongue.