Dwarf gourami: Colisa lalius
Dwarf gourami: Colisa lalius


Trichogaster lalius: Hamilton, 1822.

Colisa unicolor: Cuvier, 1831

Colisa lalia: (Hamilton, 1822)

Colisa lalius: (Hamilton, 1822)


Common name: Dwarf gourami (English name)

Bangla name: Lal Khailsa, Ranga Khailsa, Boicha.     


Taxonomic position:

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Osteichthyes

Order: Perciformes

Family: Anabantidae

Genus: Colisa

Species: C. lalius

Morphological description:

Egg shaped body is strongly compressed. Mouth is small and directed upward. Lips are normal and dorsal fin is softer portion pointed. The pelvic fin is present in the form of single, elongate, filiform ray. Caudal is usually rounded, sometimes slightly notched. Lateral line is incomplete, interrupted. Width of anal fin is more than dorsal fin. Base of soft dorsal and soft anal scaled. Red spot present on dorsal and caudal fin, wine red ground colour with double row of scarlet red and light blue spots forming oblique bands on flank, pelvic orange-red colour Rahman (2005) and Talwar and Jhingran (2001).


Fin formula:

D. XV-XVII/7-9, P1. 8-9, P2. 1 (modified ray), A. XVII-XX/14-17.

D. XV-XVII/7-10, P1. 10, P2. 1, A. XVII-XVIII/13-17 (Shafi and Quddus, 1982).

D. XV-XVII/7-8, P1. 8-9, P2. 1, A. XVII-XX/14-16 (Rahman, 2005).

D. XV-XVII 7-10, P1. 10, A. XVII-XVIII 13-17 (Talwar and Jhingran, 2001).

Minimum and maximum value of Scales number in lateral line series is 25 and 27 respectively. Scales number above lateral line is 5 to 6 and below lateral line is 8 to 9. Scales number is mentioned by other writers are above lateral line 5½-6 scales (Rahman, 2005) and in lateral line series is 27-28 scales (Talwar and Jhingran, 2001).


Habit and habitat:

It is a small fresh water fish which is found in ponds, rivers, pools, beels, flood plains, canals haors, baors etc. This fish is surface dweller and insectivorous. It is very hardy and can survive in foul water (Rahman, 2005).


Breeding time:

Its breeding period is monsoon season (Rahman, 2005).


Economic importance:

It is smallest of the genus and certainly one of the most beautiful. This fish is highly satisfactory and interesting as an aquarium fish. Colisa lalius is widely traveled and well known in the aquarium world (Talwar and Jhingran, 2001). On the other hand this fish is highly esteemed as food.  


Ecological role:

Colisa lalius a small carnivorous fish, feeding on mosquito larvae, can be recommended for the stocking tanks and ponds as an antimalarial measure (Bhatti, 1943b).


Marketing status:

Selling done in mixed form with other related species like colisa fasciatus. Market price varied between 25-43 Tk/kg. 



Bhatti, H.K. 1943b. “On the relative value of certain larvivorous fishes from the Punjab, with notes on their habits and habitats”. India. J. Vet. Sci. Delhi. 13 (Pt. IV): pp. 315-325.

Day, F. 1878. Fishes of India. William Dowson and sons., London. p. 375.

Day, F. 1889. Fishes. Fauna. Brit. India. William Dowson and sons., London. II: p. 373.

Hamilton, F. 1822.  Fishes of the Gganges. Archibald constable and company, Edinburgh. p. 120.

Qureshi, M.R. 1965. Common Freshwater fishes of Pakistan. Karachi. p. 51.

Rahman, A.K.A. 2005. Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh. The Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka. pp. 281-282.

Sterba, G. 1962. Freshwater Fishes of the World. Vista Books, London. p. 790.

Talwar, P.K. and Jhingran, A.G. 2001. Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent countries. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi. 2: p. 1007.

Valenciennes, A. and Cuvier, G. 1831. (in French) Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome septieme. Livre septieme. Des squamipennes. Livre huitieme. Des poissons a pharyngiens labyrinthiformes. Hist. Nat. Poiss. i-xxix+1-531.

Shafi, M. and Quddus, M.M.A. 1982. Bangladesher Matshaw Sampad (in Bengali). Bangla academy, Dhaka. pp. 305-306.

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Dwarf gourami: Trichogaster lalius [Colisa lalius]

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Salma Sultana

Ex-student, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh. More...

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