Anabas Scandens (Cuv.), an acanthopte-rygious fish, of the family of labyrinthibran-chidae, and the only species of the genus. This family, which has been known from remote antiquity, is remarkable for the peculiar structure of some of the pharyngeal bones and for the serrations of the gill covers. The palate is toothless; the jaw teeth are villiform, the outer ones the strongest; the lower is toothless in front, but far back among the three superior pharyngeals the teeth are crowded, conical, and large. The head is round and wide, and its scales, as well as those of the body, are large, hard, and strong; the dorsal and anal fins are of nearly equal height; the branchiostegal rays are six. The inferior and three posterior upper pharyngeals are of the usual form, and provided with teeth; but the two other upper pharyngeals on each side are dilated into thin and convoluted lamina, capable of retaining a considerable amount of water; this labyrinth communi-cates with the gills by a small opening which may be entirely closed. The water enters this cavity every time the fish opens its mouth, and may be retained for a considerable period. A fish dies out of water, not from immediate want of oxygen, but because the gills become dry and improper for its transmission.
The anabas can live many hours and perhaps days on the land, as the water contained in its pharyngeal receptacle trickles slowly over the gills and keeps them moist at the will of the animal, which leaves the rivers and pools, and crawls by means of its fins and tail considerable distances. Another peculiarity of this fish is the number of sharp spines which project from the edge of the operculum and suboperculum, the latter being uncommonly movable. The specific name is derived from its alleged habit of climbing trees, which it is said to do by fixing its opercular spines in the bark, flexing its tail, and fastening the spines of the anal fin; then detaching the head, it throws itself forward, to recommence the planting of the anal spines. It certainly moves on land in this way, and may perhaps ascend low trees, though this is denied by some writers. It inhabits the streams and pools of India and the Indian islands, living principally on aquatic insects; it is used as food, though small and full of bones; it grows from 6 to 10 inches long.