Macropodus opercularis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Osphronemidae

Scientific Name: Macropodus opercularis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Paradise fish
Chaetodon chinensis Bloch, 1790
Labrus opercularis Linnaeus, 1758
Macropodus chinensis (Bloch, 1790)
Macropodus ctenopsoides Brind, 1915
Macropodus filamentosus Oshima, 1919
Macropodus venustus Cuvier, 1831
Macropodus viridiauratus Lacep├Ęde, 1801

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2010-09-02
Assessor(s): Huckstorf, V.
Reviewer(s): Freyhof, J., Allen, D.J. & Smith, K.
Contributor(s): Zhao, H.H.
Macropodus opercularis has been assessed as Least Concern as this species has a large distribtuion area and there are no known widespread threats to this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Macropodus opercularis has a southeastern Asia distribution. It is known from slow-moving streams and marshes in eastern China from Yangtze River to Pearl River basin including Taiwan and Hainan Island, in northern and central Viet Nam and in northeastern Lao P.D.R.(Wang et al. 1999, Kottelat 2001a, b, Freyhof and Herder 2002, Serov et al. 2006). Introduced into the tropical and subtropical world (Freyhof and Herder 2002).
Countries occurrence:
China; Hong Kong; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Russian Federation; Taiwan, Province of China; Viet Nam
Japan; Korea, Republic of
Additional data:
Number of Locations:9Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is no information available on species population size and trends within its whole distribution range. Only in some regions (Taiwan and Sichuan Province), a significant decline of  Macropodus opercularis population was observed in the second half of the 20th century (see Wang et al. 1999).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Inhabits any kind of lowland habitats from heterogeneous structured margins or backwaters of large rivers to small streams and irrigation channels on farmland (Freyhof and Herder 2002). Can colonize stagnant water bodies with very low oxygen content (air breather). Found in paddy fields and ditches (Man and Hodgkiss 1981). Feeds on small aquatic animals including small fish.

Male builds bubble nests and mates below, the sinking eggs will be placed to nests by mouth. The young will be guarded by the male parent. Males will fight each other.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Very popular in the aquarium trade and therefore it has been widely transported around the world. First ornamental fish to be brought to Europe (France 1869, Germany 1876) after the goldfish.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats to this species are habitat destruction and water pollution through pesticide use on agriculture land.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation measures on not known. Monitoring of the species is recommended as in some areas the species has declined.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.8. Artificial/Aquatic - Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.9. Artificial/Aquatic - Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.3. Herbicides and pesticides
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Bogutskaya, N.G. and A.M. Naseka. 2002. REGIONAL CHECK-LISTS: Amur River Drainage Area in Russia. Available at:

Freyhof, J. and F. Herder. 2002. Review of the paradise fishes of the genus Macropodus in Vietnam, with description of two species from Vietnam and southern China (Perciformes: Osphronemidae). Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwat. 2(13): 147-167.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

Kottelat, M. 2001. Fishes of Laos. WHT Publications Ltd, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka.

Kottelat, M. 2001. Freshwater fishes of northern Vietnam. A preliminary check-list of the fishes known or expected to occur in northern Vietnam with comments on systematics and nomenclature. The World Bank, Washington DC.

Man, S.H. and I.J. Hodgkiss. 1981. Hong Kong freshwater fishes..

Serov, D.V., Nezdoliy, V.K. and Pavlov, D.S. 2006. The Freshwater Fishes of Central Vietnam. KMK Scientific Press Ltd., Moscow, Nha Trang.

Shen, S.C. 1993. Fishes of Taiwan. Department of Zoology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.

Shen, S., Lee. S., Shao, K., Mok, H., Chen, C.T. and Chen, C.H. 1993. Fishes of Taiwan. Department of Zoology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.

Wang, T.Y., Tzeng, C.-S. and Shen, S.C. 1999. Conservation and Phylogeography of Taiwan Paradise Fish, Macropodus opercularis Linnaeus. Acta Zoologica Taiwan 10(2): 121-134.

XIE Zeng-Lan,HU Jin-Chu. 2006. Observation on the Breeding Behavior of Macropodus opercularis. Chinese Journal of Zoology 41(5): 7-12.

Zheng, C.-Y. 1989. Fishes of the Zhujiang river. Science Press, Beijing.


Citation: Huckstorf, V. 2012. Macropodus opercularis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T166051A1108134. . Downloaded on 17 August 2018.
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