Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
The Belontiidae family, commonly known as gouramies, is composed of approximately 12 genera and 46 species, and is the largest and most diverse family in the Anabantoidei suborder. Gouramies are restricted to fresh water and are capable of inhabiting stagnant, low-oxygen areas due to the existence of an air-breathing organ called the labyrinthine (in Physical Description below). In addition, the Belontiidae family contains some of the most popular fish in the aquaria trade. One species, Betta splendens (Siamese fighting fish), has been in cultivation for over 100 years and captive individuals scarcely resemble the wild variety (see Economic Importance for Humans). Due to their pugnacious behavior, many gouramies have been used in behavioral studies as well (see Behavior).