The Siamese Fighting Fish or the Betta will confound you to no end. Their ornamental fins, in different colors and shapes could be straight out of myths and enchanted forest tales. And just like in these tales we are forewarned about the deceivingly beautiful appearances of some creature, be warned about betta.
The Adelaide River and floodplains near Darwin, Australia have been recently infested by a rapidly growing population of the new evolved avatar of the betta. The predator is on the prowl, quickly multiplying and resorting to its territorial self. Their ornamental fins have been replaced by brown camouflage scales, giving them the perfect armory for survival. “We are not sure how far they have bred at this stage, nor their impacts on our ecosystem,” said Dr Michael Hammer, Curator of Fishes at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Their ability to breed fast and in stagnant and shallow waters has been disturbing.
The fish, native to Thailand, were bred for fighting and recreation, tamed. But once unleashed in the wild they turn into gruesome territorial killing machines, their instincts kicking in.
Once of the reasons that could be responsible for this sudden surge, could be people dumping their pet fish in water. Betta are a favorite among many for petting. But when they leave, they usually dump the fish in water. Which could be where it all started. Due to the unknown fate of what this fish could do to the environment or the ecosystem, eradication could be the only answer. Further studies of the betta could give an insight into its survival and endemic. The fish has been known to thrive on smaller fishes and also known to have been food to bigger native fishes. They are unique in their ability to survive in shallow water in low oxygen environments with their labyrinth lungs. This makes for a truly intriguing research.