Fun Wrestling Halfbeak Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 20, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Read these wrestling halfbeak facts about this species of fighting fish known for their tendency to fight amongst their breed.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

The gold wrestling halfbeak (Dermogenys pusilla) is an unusual livebearer fish perfect for a nano or planted aquarium. The wrestling halfbeak is a green-gray color in its natural state, but it could also be a tank-raised gold color morph. This fish spends almost all of its time in the ocean.

The wrestling halfbeak is also known as the Malayan halfbeak. It is a viviparous halfbeak fish native to the fresh and brackish waters of rivers and coastal regions of Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Sumatra. It's a slim, sleek, livebearing fish with the family's distinctive elongated lower jaws.

The 'wrestling' part of its general name comes from males competing over land during territorial disputes. Males will lock their mouths and wrestle with one another during these fights. This may result in catastrophic injuries to one or both males in a smaller aquarium, but in larger aquariums, such clashes are usually brief and harmless.

To read more such animal facts, do check our guides on Nile tilapia and Mexican tetra to find out more interesting and mind-blowing facts.

Wrestling Halfbeak Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a wrestling halfbeak?

A wrestling halfbeak is a fish that is small and slender. They are livebearers with an elongated lower jaw.

What class of animal does a wrestling halfbeak belong to?

Wrestling halfbeaks belong to the class of Actinopterygii.

How many wrestling halfbeaks are there in the world?

The exact number of wrestling halfbeak species is unknown.

Where does a wrestling halfbeak live?

The wrestling halfbeak is a fish that lives in water bodies like rivers, canals, ditches, where they can easily find food. They are found mostly in brackish water. It is located in many parts of South and Southeast Asia in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

What is a wrestling halfbeak habitat?

Rivers, canals, ditches, submerged plains, wetlands, and dams are among the slow-flowing or still water biotopes that form the habitat of a wrestling halfbeak. Any of these might be stagnant, but they all have a lot of plants on the soil and plenty of food to provide for them and fulfill their diet.

During the rainy season, it can be found in semi-brackish conditions near mangrove swamps.

Who does wrestling halfbeak live with?

Wrestling halfbeaks (Dermogenys pusilla) may be held with other peaceful, similar-sized animals that share the same water conditions. Other livebearers, smaller rainbowfish, and freshwater gobies such as neon goby and round goby are all good options for a freshwater aquarium.

Wrestling halfbeaks should be kept in groups of at least six males, consisting of either a single male with multiple females or larger mixed groups containing at least six males in more open quarters with sufficient visual barriers.

The latter will aid in the dispersal of any territorial aggression among the males in the group. If not kept in groups, they tend to get depressed.

How long does a wrestling halfbeak live?

The exact lifespan of a wrestling halfbeak is not known, but they are estimated to live for two to three years approximately.

How do they reproduce?

A wrestling halfbeak (Dermogenys pusilla) is a species of sexually dimorphic fish. Females are taller than males, reaching 3 in (7 cm) in length, while males only attain 2.2 in (5.5 cm) and have red or yellow spots on their dorsal fin and beak, and their anal fin is yellow edged with black.

The males of wrestling halfbeaks will compete for up to thirty minutes by locking jaws, thus their name.

Many livebearers are easier to breed than wrestling halfbeaks, and if they can reproduce successfully, the fry is mostly stillborn.

Conditioning the breeding pair on nutritious live foods can minimize the likelihood of this occurring. The fry will be born after a gestation period of three to six weeks, depending on the tank temperature that must be 75-82 F (24-28 C).

The female can gestate for three to eight weeks after being inseminated, depending on the water temperature. Brood size ranges from 10-30.

To minimize predation risk, detach the fry from the adults when they are released, and feed them baby brine shrimp (Artemia nauplii) and powdered first foods.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of wrestling halfbeak (Dermogenys pusilla) is Not Evaluated.

Wrestling Halfbeak Fun Facts

What does wrestling halfbeak look like?

The wrestling halfbeak (Dermogenys pusilla) is an elongated surface-dweller found in sluggish, densely vegetated canals, wetlands, submerged plains, dams, wetlands, rivers, and streams. They have greenish-gray color and elongated jaws, which is why they are called halfbeaks.

They prefer feeding on larvae and young fish, which can be found in the brackish waters of the upper reaches of mangrove swamps.

A wrestling halfbeak is small in size with an elongated long lower jaw.

How cute are they?

Wrestling halfbeaks are not exactly cute because their jaw looks a bit scary, but they are beautiful. They are of vibrant colors which change according to their surroundings.

How do they communicate?

Wrestling halfbeaks communicate mainly physically. So far, we only know that they will compete or fight for territory by locking jaws. That is the only communication method we have seen.

How big is a wrestling halfbeak?

Females are taller than males, reaching 3 in (7 cm) in length, while males only attain 2.2 in (5.5 cm). They are about two times smaller than a clownfish.

How fast can a wrestling halfbeak swim?

The exact speed of wrestling halfbeaks is not known, but they are very fast and swift swimmers.

How much does a wrestling halfbeak weigh?

The weight of a wrestling halfbeak is 0.9 lb (408 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific term to describe males and females of this species separately. They are referred to as male and female wrestling halfbeaks.

What would you call a baby wrestling halfbeak?

There is no particular term used to refer to a baby wrestling halfbeak. They are called baby wrestling halfbeaks.

What do they eat?

As a species of land-feeding fish, their diet is made up of several small invertebrates such as crustaceans and insect larvae, but they particularly feed on mosquito larvae. They also jump to catch flying insects that have dropped to the water's surface along with fruit flies as they serve as a large portion of their food.

They are also fed frozen foods in an aquarium.

Are they dangerous?

Wrestling halfbeaks are a very shy and nervous species of fish, and they get startled very easily. Hence they are not at all dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Wrestling halfbeaks would make pretty good pets as they are community fish, but they require some time to adjust to the environment when first introduced to the tank. The wrestling halfbeak is easy to care for.

It can be present in a range of water conditions, including brackish water with a salinity of 1.005. The best environment for them to live in would be between the pH 6.5-7.5 and water somewhat between soft to slightly hard and adequate temperature of 75-82 F (24-28 C) with periodic water changes.

They have the habit of feeding on a range of high-quality frozen and flake foods, as well as gut-loaded fruit flies if they are available.

They are also quite peaceful with most other species of fish. However, when they are bred in tanks, a closed lid and a layer of floating plants are recommended.

Did you know...

Wrestling halfbeaks are used as fighting fish by people in some countries for betting purposes.

They are easy to catch. You have to spot them precisely and cast your bait towards them. Use a single hooked rod that can float easily on the water. Also, use polaroid sunglasses that can help you spot them.

Are halfbeaks aggressive?

They are aggressive and territorial species of fish that can quickly injure their long lower jaw by slamming into the aquarium mirror while competing over land during territorial disputes. The males will lock their mouths and wrestle with one another during these fights.

Does wrestling halfbeak change color?

The color of this species varies based on the location of the specimen. It is the genus Dermogenys' type species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these yellowfin flasher wrasse facts and spotted catfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Wrestling halfbeak coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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