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Mangrove pond: The labyrinth fish

The large, carplike fish in the mangrove basin is a giant gourami from the tropical regions of Asia. It belongs to the family of labyrinth fishes, which have a vascularized auxiliary breathing organ behind their gills that lets them breathe atmospheric air at the surface of the water. This allows these fish to survive even in water with a very low oxygen content. Other fish would suffocate in these often muddy conditions.

Smaller relatives of this species are familiar to many owners of home aquariums. These small gouramis build nests, just like their larger relative here in the pond. The smaller species build nests out of air bubbles they fix with a substance they secrete with their mouths, while giant gouramis construct nests from plant fibers. The male gourami clasps the female beneath the nest, fertilizing the eggs as they float to the surface. Both fish then guard the nest until the eggs hatch.



Audio file download
Mangrove pond: The labyrinth fish (MP3, 400 KB)

Audio production and copyright: Soundgarden Audioguidance GmbH
Text: Günter Gerlach, Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg