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(labyrinth fish), a suborder of fishes of the order Percomorphi. The fishes have an organ above the gills called a labyrinth that is used for breathing air from the atmosphere (hence the name labyrinth fish). There are four families, comprising more than 30 species—Anabantidae, Belontidae, Helostomatidae, and Osphronemidae. These fishes are found in fresh and salt waters in tropical and southern Africa, southern Asia, and the Malay Archipelago. The largest species are the anabas (up to 20 cm long) and the gourami (up to 60 cm long). The latter is raised in ponds in India and several other Asian countries. Members of the suborder usually inhabit standing or slowly moving water, overgrown with underwater vegetation and soiled by its decaying residues. Some, for example, the paradise fish, are often found in flooded rice paddies. Labyrinth fish can remain out of the water for a long time, burying themselves in silt or crawling across dry land in search of new water. They feed on aquatic invertebrates. During the mating period many of them build nests. Some species are raised for aquariums, for example, paradise fish, bettas, and gourami.
REFERENCESZolotnitskii, N. F. Akvarium liubitelia, 4th ed. Moscow, 1916. Pages 183–218.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.
Lindberg, G. U. Opredelitel’ i kharakteristika semeistv ryb mirovoi fauny. Leningrad, 1971. Page 265.
G. U. LINDBERG