Stunning Portraits of Siamese Fighting Fish
Photographer Visarute Angkatavanich gets incredibly close up to capture these stunning portraits of Siamese fighting fish in graceful, dancerly poses. The Thai photographer uses perfectly placed lighting to create the dramatic highlights and shadows that give personality to each little finned creature.
The photographs convey a sense of elegance that sits in direct contrast to the territorial nature of the popular freshwater aquarium fish. As they twist and turn and form captivating curves, Angkatavanich times his shots perfectly to capture the magnificence of the individual forms. His subjects are set against either a stark black or white background and the beauty of the flowing fins is playfully complemented by each naturally fierce facial expression.
The Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) also known as betta, is a popular species of freshwater aquarium fish. The wild ancestors of this fish are native to the rice paddies of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam and are called pla-kad (literally biting fish) in Thai. They tend to be rather aggressive.
The people of Siam and Malaya (now Thailand and Malaysia) are known to have collected these fish prior to the 19th century.
In the wild, bettas spar for only a few minutes or so before one fish backs off. Bred specifically for fighting, domesticated betta matches can go on for much longer, with winners determined by a willingness to continue fighting. Once one fish retreats, the match is over. Seeing the popularity of these fights, the king of Siam started licensing and collecting these fighting fish.
Although known for their brilliant colors and large, flowing fins, the natural coloration of B. splendens is a dull green, browns and gray, and the fins of wild specimens are relatively short. Brilliantly colored and longer-finned varieties have been developed through selective breeding.
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