Common name for a species of freshwater
fish, with the scientific designation Anabas testudineus, of the genus Anabas,
which consists of only two recognized species, the
other one being the
Gangetic Koi (Anabas cobojius -
Both are a kind of climbing gourami and
occur in South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia, where they are important as
food. 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 wet markets. Climbing Perches are known to
inhabit both fresh and brackish water, and are found
abundantly in the
Delta in Vietnam, for one.
Climbing Perches are carnivorous and
feed on water invertebrates and their larvae. These sturdy-looking fish can grow
to a length of 25 centimeters and have a greyish-brown colour, which is darker
above and paler on the sides, which have blurred vertical bars in grey and an
overall yellowish-golden shine. In
the centre, just before the tail
fin, as well as right behind the gill,
there is a small –yet distinctive– black spot.
Another trait of Climbing Perches is that they guard their eggs.
In Thai, this fish is known as pla moh (ปลาหมอ)
moh thai (ปลาหมอไทย),
to distinct it form Gangetic Koi, which is also known as pla moh (ปลาหมอ).
The climbing gourami occurs in the Thai proverb: pla moh taai pro pahk, i.e.
‘climbing gourami die because of their mouths’,
be hung by the tongue’.
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