gourami

gourami go͞orä´mē [key], tropical freshwater fish of the labyrinth fish suborder. Like other members of that suborder, gouramis have a labyrinthine breathing apparatus connected to each gill chamber that enables them to utilize atmospheric oxygen. They can therefore live in oxygen-poor water. Gouramis are native to SE Asia and Africa. The true gourami, Osphronemus goramy, reaches a length of 2 ft (60 cm). It originated in Indonesia, but has been introduced in China and S Asia, where it is cultivated as an important food fish. Certain smaller members of the family, popular as aquarium fishes, are also called gouramis, but the best known, the white, 10-in.(25-cm) long kissing gourami (Helostoma temmincki) is now classified in the family Helostomatidae. Other popular gouramis are the moonlight gourami (Trichogaster microlepis) of Thailand, a 6-in. (15-cm) long, silvery-blue fish with long, threadlike ventral fins, and other Trichogaster species. The talking, or croaking, gourami (Trichopsis vittatus), a 2-in. (5-cm) long fish, is noted for the curious sounds produced by the males when they surface for air at night. The labyrinth fishes also include the betta, or fighting fish, and the paradise fish, which are in the same family as the gourami, and the so-called climbing perch, climbing gourami, or walking fish, which is in the family Anabantidae. True gouramis are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Osphronemidae.

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