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.

Trichopsis vittata
Trichopsis vittata
(Croaking Gourami)

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Trichopsis vittata (Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1831)

Common name: Croaking Gourami

Synonyms and Other Names: Osphromenus vittatus Cuvier, 1831.

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Trichopsis vittata is a brown-bodied fish with three horizontal stripes at the posterior of the body (Liengpornpan et al. 2007). Females are smaller and duller in color than males and males have long dorsal fins that are redder in color (Liengpornpan et al. 2007). Trichopsis vittate can be distinguished from two other similar species in the genus, T. pumila (Arnold, 1936) and T. schalleri (Ladiges, 1962), by the presence of a dark line located under the eye and three longitudinal stripes down the body instead of two (Norén et al. 2017).

For distinguishing characteristics and a figure, see Smith (1945), Page and Burr (1991), and Kottelat et al. (1993). Color photographs provided in Axelrod et al. (1985) and Kottelat et al. (1993).

Size: 4-7 cm SL.

Native Range: Widely distributed in southeast Asia including Thailand, southern Vietnam, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo (Sterba 1973; Axelrod et al. 1985; Rainboth 1996).

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

Nonindigenous Occurrences: A population was established in a small area (canal system) on the south side of Lake Worth Drainage District canal L-36 in Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida, in the late 1970s (Courtenay and Hensley 1979; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Courtenay et al. 1986; Courtenay and Stauffer 1990; Page and Burr 1991). Additional collections were made in 1992. Although considered a failed introduction as of 2008 (Shafland et al. 2008a, b), collections were made on the east side of Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in 2012 and from within the refuge in 2015 and 2019 (Schofield et al. 2021), indicating there remains an established population in this area.

Voucher specimens: Florida (UF 90547, 97056, 97858, 184709, 185020, 185216, 185227, 236206, 236749).

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 Trichopsis vittata are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL197820231Florida Southeast Coast

Table last updated 5/21/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Trichopsis vittata is a small air-breathing fish that inhabits slow-flowing waterways with ample vegetation such as ditches, canals, swamps, and agricultural fields (Norén et al. 2017). Trichopsis vittate can breathe oxygen from the water’s surface by use of a labyrinth organ and is also known for its ability to create an audible sound while breeding or fighting (Graham 1997, Liengpornpan et al. 2007).  This distinctive “croaking” noise is achieved by specialized pectoral-fin tendons that are plucked by anterior ray fins to generate bursts of sound (Schofield and Pecora 2013). Trichopsis vittate feeds primarily on small invertebrates such as plankton and insect larvae and can tolerate brackish water up to 20 psu salinity and water temperatures down to 7.2 °C (Rainboth 1996, Schofield and Schulte 2016).

Sexual maturity is reached at 3-4 cm SL (Henglmüller and Ladichm 1999). Males are territorial and build nests that consist of mucus-covered bubbles stuck together in small masses in vegetation at the water’s surface (Helfman et al. 1997). Eggs are then deposited in the bubble nest and guarded by the male until fry become free-swimming (Liengpornpan et al. 2007).

Means of Introduction: Probable escape from a nearby aquarium fish farm (Courtenay et al. 1986; Courtenay and Stauffer 1990), or possible aquarium release (Courtenay and Hensley 1979; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.).

Status: Locally established in Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Palm Beach County, Florida (Schofield et al. 2021). Full extent is unknown.

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: Research suggests that biotic resistance from the native eastern mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki, has hampered the spread of a feral population of T. vittate in southern Florida (Schofield et al. 2021).

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.

Courtenay, W.R., Jr., D.A. Hensley, J.N. Taylor, and J.A. McCann. 1986. Distribution of exotic fishes in North America. Pages 675-698 in C.H. Hocutt, and E.O. Wiley, editors. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Cuvier, G., and A. Valenciennes. 1831.  Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome 7. Paris, F.G. Levrault, 531 pp.

Graham, J.B. 1997. Air-breathing fishes. Evolution, diversity and adaptation. San Diego, California: Academic Press.

Helfman, G.S., B.B Collette, D.E. Facey. 1997. The diversity of fishes. 528 pp. Blackwell Science: Oxford

Henglmüller, S.M. and F. Ladichm. 1999. Development of agonistic behaviour and vocalization in croaking gouramis. Journal of Fish Biology, 54: 380-395. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.1999.tb00837.x

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.

Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980 et seq. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.

Liengpornpan, S., M. Jaroensutasinee, and K. Jaroensutasinee. 2007. Mating habits and nesting habitats of the croaking gourami Trichopsis vittata. Acta Zool. Sinica. 52. 846-853.

Norén M., S.O. Kullander, M.M. Rahman, A.R. Mollah. 2017. First records of Croaking Gourami, Trichopsis vittata (Cuvier, 1831) (Teleostei: Osphronemidae), from Myanmar and Bangladesh. Check List 13 (4): 81–85. https://doi.org/10.15560/13.4.81

Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Rainboth W.J. 1996. FAO Species Identification Field Guide for Fishery Purposes: Fishes of the Cambodian Mekong. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

Schofield, P.J., and D.J. Pecora. 2013. Croaking gourami, Trichopsis vittata (Cuvier, 1831), in Florida, USA. BioInvasions Records 2:247-251.

Schofield P.J., J.M. Schulte. 2016. Small but tough: What can ecophysiology of croaking gourami Trichopsis vittata (Cuvier, 1831) tell us about invasiveness of non-native fishes in Florida? NeoBiota 28: 51–65. https://doi.org/10.3897/neobiota.28.5259

Schofield P.J., Q.M. Tuckett, D.H. Slone, K.M. Reaver, J.E. Hill. 2021. Invasion frustration: can biotic resistance explain the small geographic range of non-native croaking gourami Trichopsis vittata (Cuvier, 1831) in Florida, USA? Aquatic Invasions 16(3): 512–526, https://doi.org/10. 3391/ai.2021.16.3.08

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

Shafland, P.L., K.B. Gestring, and M.S. Sanford. 2008b. Florida’s exotic freshwater fishes – 2007. Florida Scientist 71(3):220-245.

Smith, H. M. 1945. The fresh-water fishes of Siam, or Thailand. Bulletin of the U.S. National Museum (Smithsonian Institution) 188:1-622.

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

FishBase Summary

Author: Kristen Reaver, Leo Nico, Pam Fuller, and Pam Schofield

Revision Date: 10/4/2023

Peer Review Date: 10/4/2023

Citation Information:
Kristen Reaver, Leo Nico, Pam Fuller, and Pam Schofield, 2024, Trichopsis vittata (Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1831): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=333, Revision Date: 10/4/2023, Peer Review Date: 10/4/2023, Access Date: 5/22/2024

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.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [5/22/2024].

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