Betta splendens Wild

6. October 2017

The wild forms of the Betta splendens-group are very difficult to determinate, even for specialists and in some cases a safe determination will fail at all. Currently these species are placed in the group: Betta imbellis, B. mahachaiensis, B. siamorientalis, B. smaragdina, B. splendens, and B. stiktos. Inside this group one can differentiate two subgroups, namely the Betta smaragdina-subgroup, containing B. mahachaiensis, B. smaragdina, and B. stiktos, and the Betta splendens-subgroup that contains the remaining species.

The only way to distinguish the species of the Betta splendens-subgroup is via the coloration of the head of males in aggressive mood. In Betta imbellis a blue stripe appears at the edge of the operculum, another blue stripe appears in front of it behind the eye. In Betta splendens and B. siamorientalis the whole head becomes dark or black and at the egde of the operceulum a red or yellowish stripe appears.  All other details in coloration and morphometrics overlap broadly in the three species and are hardly useful for determination purposes. However, DNA analyses support strongly the existence of the three species.

We recently obtained wild specimens of Betta splendens from Thailand. The animals were collected near Kanchanaburi. They are beautiful fish with lot of temper and a lot of red coloration. Please don´t be fooled by the lancet shape of the photographed male. This is an individual thing and may appear in old males of all species. All other males in our shipment have „normal“, round caudal fins.

For our customers: the fish have code 390013 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer