Betta Bleeker, 1850 is a large genus of small, often colorful, freshwater ray-finned fishes in the gourami family (Osphronemidae). The type species is B. picta, the spotted betta. By far the best known Betta species, however, is B. splendens, the Siamese fighting fish.
CharacteristicsAll the Betta species are small fishes, but they vary considerably in size, ranging from under 2.5 cm (1 inch) total length in B. chanoides to five feet in the Akar betta (B. akarensis).
The various bettas can be divided into two groups, based on their spawning behaviour: some build bubble nests, like B. splendens, while others are mouthbrooders, like B. picta. The mouthbrooding species are sometimes called "pseudo bettas", and are sometimes speculated to have evolved from the nest-builders in an adaptation to their fast-moving stream habitats.
Betta fish are not big eaters but should be fed a small amount once or twice a day. They can be fed floating flake food, freeze dried blood worms, live black worms, or frozen brine shrimp.
There is often much confusion in terminology regarding these fish. So-called "Siamese fighting fish", B. splendens, are frequently sold in the United States simply as "bettas." Fish fanciers are thus often unaware that, as of 2006, there are around 65 species classified within the genus Betta. A further source of confusion is that while the generic name Betta is italicized and capitalized, when used as a common name it is usually not capitalized. The common name of Betta pugnax, for example, is thus Penang betta.
The name Betta (or betta) is .
The United Nations Environment Programme lists an unconfirmed species, Betta cf. tomi, as having become extinct in Singapore between 1970 and 1994. This likely refers to the extirpated Singaporean population of B. tomi, which continues to exist in the wild in Indonesia and Malaysia as well as in captivity; the Red List classifies it as Vulnerable.
SpeciesThe currently described Betta species can be grouped into "complexes" for conservation purposes. (This grouping of species makes no claim at representing a taxonomic reality.) The complexes of the associated species are:
- Coccina complex:
- Betta brownorum Witte and Schmidt, 1992
- Betta burdigala Kottelat and Ng, 1994
- Betta coccina Vierke, 1979
- Betta livida Ng and Kottelat, 1992
- Betta miniopinna Tan and Tan, 1994
- Betta persephone Schaller, 1986
- Betta rutilans Witte and Kottelat in Kottelat, 1991
- Betta tussyae Schaller, 1985
- Betta uberis Tan & Ng, 2006
- Edithae complex:
- Betta edithae Vierke, 1984
- Pugnax complex:
- Betta breviobesus Tan and Kottelat, 1998
- Betta cracens Tan & Ng, 2005
- Betta enisae Kottelat, 1995
- Betta fusca Regan, 1910 – dusky betta
- Betta lehi Tan & Ng, 2005
- Betta pallida Schindler & Schmidt, 2004
- Betta prima Kottelat, 1994
- Betta pugnax (Cantor, 1849) – Penang betta
- Betta pulchra Tan and Tan, 1996
- Betta raja Tan & Ng, 2005
- Betta schalleri Kottelat and Ng, 1994
- Betta stigmosa Tan & Ng, 2005
- Unimaculata complex:
Betta in Bosnian: Betta
Betta in Esperanto: Beta (fiŝo)
Betta in French: Betta
Betta in German: Kampffische
Betta in Hebrew: דגי קרב
Betta in Italian: Betta (pesci)
Betta in Lithuanian: Gaidukai (guramiai)
Betta in Norwegian: Kampfisker
Betta in Polish: Bojownik (ryba)
Betta in Serbian: Бета (зоологија)
Betta in Swedish: Kampfiskar