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climbing perch

climbing perch,   climbing gourami, or walking fish, any of several fish of the family Anabantidae, adapted to living in oxygen-depleted water or on dry land. They are not related to the true perch. The climbing perches are labyrinth fishes, a suborder of spiny-finned fishes of Africa and SE Asia that have a labyrinthine chamber over the gills that enables them to absorb and retain atmospheric oxygen. The climbing perch, Anabas testudineus, of SE Asia, is brown and reaches a length of 10 in. (25 cm). Climbing perches travel in search of water when their ponds dry up they walk with jerky movements, supported by the spiny edges of the gill plates and propelled by the fins and tail. They are said to climb low trees. The land-walking mudskipper is of a different family. Climbing perches are classified in the phylum Chordata , subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Anabantidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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