The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Anabas testudineus
Anabas testudineus
(climbing perch)

Copyright Info
Anabas testudineus (Bloch, 1792)

Common name: climbing perch

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: This species is highly variable in body form and meristics (Roberts 1989). Identification key, distinguishing characteristics, and figures were given in Talwar and Jhingran (1992); distinguishing characteristics were also provided by Sterba (1973) and Kottelat et al. (1993). See Axelrod et al. (1985) and Kottelat et al. (1993) for color photographs of live fish.

Size: 25 cm.

Native Range: Tropical Asia. Native to India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Southeast Asia, southern China, and Malaysia (Sterba 1973; Axelrod et al. 1985; FishBase 2011). Inhabits fresh and brackish waters (Talwar and Jhingran 1992).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: A small population was formerly established near a fish farm on Piney Point Road in northwestern Manatee County, Florida, in late 1960s/early 1970s; however, it was not found in 1970-1972 surveys and the population is thought to have died out, probably due to cold winter temperatures (Courtenay and Hensley 1979; Courtenay and Stauffer 1990).

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Anabas testudineus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL196819742Manatee; South Atlantic-Gulf Region

Table last updated 2/25/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Probable escape from local aquarium fish farms (Courtenay and Stauffer 1990).

Status: Extirpated. Formerly established locally in Manatee County, Florida (Courtenay and Hensley 1979; Courtenay and Stauffer 1990). Shafland et al. (2008) list it as a formerly reproducing species.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: Roberts (1989) considered Anabas to be among the hardiest of fishes. There are no known voucher specimens.

References: (click for full references)

Axelrod, H.R., W.E. Burgess, N. Pronek, and J.G. Walls. 1985. Dr. Axelrod's atlas of freshwater aquarium fishes. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Courtenay, W.R., Jr., and D.A. Hensley. 1979. Survey of introduced non-native fishes. Phase I Report. Introduced exotic fishes in North America: status 1979. Report Submitted to National Fishery Research Laboratory, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gainesville, FL.

Courtenay, W.R., Jr., and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1990. The introduced fish problem and the aquarium fish industry. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 21(3):145-159.

Kottelat, M., A.J. Whitten, S.N. Kartikasari, and S. Wirjoatmodjo. 1993. Freshwater fishes of Western Indonesia and Sulawesi. Periplus Editions, Ltd., Republic of Indonesia.

Roberts, T.R. 1989. The freshwater fishes of Western Borneo (Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia). Memoirs of the California Academy of Science 14. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA.

Shafland, P.L., K.B. Gestring, and M.S. Sanford.  2008. Categorizing introduced fishes collected from public waters. Southeastern Naturalist 7(4):627-636.

Sterba, G. 1973. Freshwater fishes of the world. English translation and revision from German. Two volumes. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Talwar, P.K., and A.G. Jhingran, editors. 1992. Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Two volumes.

FishBase Summary

Author: Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller

Revision Date: 3/31/2020

Peer Review Date: 6/7/2012

Citation Information:
Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller, 2024, Anabas testudineus (Bloch, 1792): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=306, Revision Date: 3/31/2020, Peer Review Date: 6/7/2012, Access Date: 2/25/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [2/25/2024].

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