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Care and Use of Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta Splendens) for Research

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Betta splendens, also called Siamese fighting fish or 'betta,' are a popular species in the fishkeeping hobby. Native to South- east Asia, betta have been selectively bred for their fighting ability for hundreds of years, which has resulted in the species' characteristic male aggression. More recently, betta have been bred for a number of ornamental traits such as coloration, fin morphology, and body size. Betta have unique characteristics and an evolutionary history that make them a useful model for studies in the fields of behavior, endocrinology, neurobiology, genetics, development, and evolution. However, standard laboratory procedures for raising and keeping these fish are not well established, which has limited their use. Here, we briefly review the past and present use of betta in research, with a focus on their utility in behavioral, neurobiological, and evolutionary studies. We then describe effective husbandry practices for maintaining betta as a research colony.

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA; Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, USA 2: Institute of Comparative Medicine, Columbia University, New York, USA 3: Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA; Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, USA; Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, USA 4: Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA; Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, USA;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: June 1, 2022

This article was made available online on June 14, 2022 as a Fast Track article with title: "Care and Use of Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens) for Research".

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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