field guide to the freshwater fishes of singapore

Index of fishes
General parts of a fish
Kelvin K P Lim and Peter K L Ng
  Family Anabantidae
Africa, Asia. This family of anabantoids (which includes the famous Climbing Perch) is more diverse in Africa.

Genus Anabas
photo of whole fish, side view
Photo: Tan Hong Kim
Climbing Perch
Anabas testudineus
Ikan Betuk, Puyu, name in chinese characters

Primarily freshwater fish; 25 cm; oviparous; omnivorous (large ones are predatory);
gregarious or solitary; near-bottom dweller. Indigenous, fairly common. Forest and rural streams, canals, drains, ponds and reservoirs.

One of the most celebrated local fishes, Anabas is capable of wandering "cross-country" from one water body to another. It crawls about with its spiky gill covers propped by its pectoral fins.
close-up photo of gill cover
Gill cover of Anabas
photo of the fish from above.
Anabas "walking" across a sandbank
The hind part of the fish twitches violently to propel it forward. Using this method, and when the air is sufficiently humid, it is said to be able to cover several hundred metres per trip.

Despite its common name, Anabas cannot really climb!
Some local Malays like to keep climbing perches in their house, believing that they help ward off evil spirits (for more details). They are sold in markets for food occasionally. Anabas does not build a bubble-nest, the eggs being scattered and free floating.
Freshwater habitats
Fishes in Singapore
Amazing Fishy Facts
About the guidebook
From A Guide to Common Freshwater Fishes of Singapore by Kelvin K P Lim and Peter K L Ng
Published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by BP

@Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and Singapore Science Centre