Siamese Fighting Fish
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Common Name Betta
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Osphronemidae
Genus Betta
Species B. splendens
Conservation Status

The Siamese fighting fish, (Betta splendens), also known as betta, is a popular species of freshwater aquarium fish. The name of the genus is derived from ikan bettah, taken from a local dialect of Malay. The wild ancestors of this fish are native to the rice paddies of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and are called pla-kad (lit. biting fish) in Thai or trey krem in Khmer.

In Popular Culture

  • In the 1963 James Bond movie From Russia with Love, the strategy of the criminal organization SPECTRE is compared to three Siamese fighting in the same tank: Two will fight each other to the death while the third will wait its turn to fight the exhausted victor, symbolizing the conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union, with SPECTRE as the fish that waits.
  • The title of S.E. Hinton's 1975 novel Rumble Fish, is an eponymous reference to what two brothers call the breed. In Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 film adaptation, everything appears in black and white except the Siamese fighting fish.
  • A 2006 episode of Cold Case ("Saving Sammy") features a boy with a pet Siamese fighting fish.
  • The Siamese fighting fish has been used as the default background in the beta and release candidate versions of the 2009 Windows 7 operating system, in an apparent reference to the name "Betta." A similar wallpaper and boot-screen also used in the pre-releases of Windows 8.
  • A Siamese fighting fish features as a clue in a murder in 2009 film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
  • Milo, one of the main characters in the Disney Channel's 2010 series, Fish Hooks, is a Siamese fighting fish.
  • In the BBC children's series M.I.High, the plot of one episode involves causing the children to have their minds altered to that of a fighting fish by use of brainwaves distributed in a Van de Graaff generator.


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