Paradise fish (paradise gourami) have been introduced into various ecosystems away from their original places of distribution and habitat. Belonging to genus Macropodus and species Macropodus opercularis, paradise gourami have become very popular ornamental fish and have been transported around the world.
Macropodus opercularis are naturally distributed in East Asia from Yangtze basin to the south in China, Hainan Island, Korean Peninsula, Taiwan and North Vietnam. Macropodus opercularis have been introduced widely into tropical and subtropical world. Paradise gourami were brought into France in 1869 and Germany in 1876 for keeping in aquaria.
The distribution of natural habitat of Macropodus opercularis includes wetlands, lakes, backwaters of rivers and streams, stagnant water bodies, irrigation canals, paddy fields, drains and ditches. As Macropodus opercularis are labyrinthfish capable of breathing air directly from atmosphere, the low oxygen levels of the small and stagnant water bodies is not a limiting factor for natural distribution of these species. The paradise species are quite hardy and tolerate changes in water quality and temperature.
Macropodus opercularis are small in size growing upto 10cm (4inches). They are predators and feed on small aquatic animals, young fry and insect larvae. Macropodus opercularis males are very aggresive and territorial, especially in breeding seasons. As M. opercularis may kill smaller fish they are not suitable for a community aquarium and have to be kept alone. Sufficient hiding spots can protect from injuring one another. With the wide availability of very colorful and less aggrasive hybrid gourami, the aquarist’s interest in Macropodus opercularis species is waning.
Picture source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paradise_fish_female_and_male_02.jpg [public domain]
Loss of habitat and distribution: Except for Taiwan, globally their native populations are not considered endangered. In Taiwan the distribution of paradise fish has sharply decreased in natural habits due to pollution and these paradise gourami have been declared as endangered species.
Scientific classification of paradise gourami
Kingdom: Animalia – Animals
Phylum: Chordata – chordates
Class: Actinopterygii – ray-finned fish
Order: Perciformes – perch-like fish
Suborder: Anabantoidei – labyrinthfishes
Genus: Macropodus – paradise species
Species Macropodus opercularis – paradise gourami
Topics of interest in Aquarium Fish Pictures:
Types of gouramis.
1.opercularis species http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=172642
2. Luna, Susan M. http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Macropodus-opercularis.html