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Betta splendens is a species of fish that hails from Thailand in southeastern Asia. Known commonly as "Siamese fighting fish," they often are kept as pets. However, these fighting fish still exist in their natural habitat. The "fight" in their names comes from the males' habits of battling it out among themselves.
About Betta Splendens
Siamese fighting fish generally grow to lengths of about 3 inches, according to Animal Diversity Web of the University of Michigan. In their natural habitat, their scaly physiques are brownish or greenish in coloration -- somewhat lackluster in comparison to the pet shop counterparts, which are specially bred to be vivid blue, green or red. When it comes to fighting, the species' males are ferocious, and their scuffles often are fatal. They are capable of surviving to ages of upwards of 2 years.
These aquatic creatures, as their monikers show, originated in Thailand. However, their natural living environments encompass more than Thailand, as these feisty creatures also frequently swim freely through other tropical Asian locales, such as the southern region of Vietnam and Cambodia. In the past, Siamese fighting fish also have been introduced to other parts of the world, some distant and others not quite as distant, such as the Dominican Republic, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Siamese fighting fish are residents of an array of natural habitat types, including paddy fields, floodplains, ponds, rivers, marshlands and canals. They are attracted to slow and still water environments, such as streams with excessive amounts of contamination, for example.
Siamese fighting fish are dropping in terms of population, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species' 2011 assessment. Because of this, they have been assigned "vulnerable" population status by the organization. The primary risk for these fish is the ruination of their natural habitat -- mostly due to the development of cityscapes and agricultural sites. Inordinate water contamination also is a serious problem for them.
In the wild, Siamese fighting fish are primarily bug eaters. Their meals usually consist of insects that, for whatever reason, ended up dropping into their environments, whether ponds, canals or anything else. They also frequently feed on algae and bug larvae, as well.
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