Thai word for wild bettas
There are over 70 species of fish that fall under the genus of ‘Betta’. These 70 odd species are then organised into groups usually called ‘complexes’, which consist of closely related species.
Betta splendens is a member of the ‘Splendens’ complex, along with five other species. One of the main threats facing Betta splendens in the wild, is hybridisation with the released/escaped ornamental or fighting strains of Betta splendens.
The ornamental form of Betta splendens that the majority of us on this forum keep, is a purely man-made strain. To me, the term ‘wild betta’ simply means a fish where there’s been no selective breeding undertaken to alter appearance or behaviour. This is why you can have a captive bred ‘wild betta’. It has nothing to do with whether or not the fish is actually wild-caught.
You can still find Betta fish in the wild, it’s just that pure specimens are considerably rarer.
There’s always the debate over ethics when it comes to wild-caught fish. Sadly many species of wild betta are teetering on the brink due to habitat destruction. Their only future is in the hobby, and so it’s important that these fish find their way into hobbyists’ tanks. All of my foundation breeding stock is wild-caught, except for my Betta persephone as the particular locality I have is now extinct in the wild as I think a highway got built over/through their habitat.
Wild-caught bettas usually integrate well into life in captivity. In fact if you walked into my fish room, you would not be able to tell the difference between the wild-caught individuals and the captive bred individuals as they are equally ‘friendly’ and curious. The male in my display photo is a wild-caught fish, and I can assure you, he would not look like this if his needs weren’t being met.
Problems with wild betta is that they are picky eaters and their colours are not as vibrant as household betta fishes. However there are some people that like wild bettas. Below is a very informative channel on wild bettas and how wild betta are put to battle.