Luciocephalus pulcher

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Luciocephalus pulcher
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Anabantiformes
Family: Osphronemidae
Genus: Luciocephalus
L. pulcher
Binomial name
Luciocephalus pulcher
(J. E. Gray, 1830)
  • Diplopterus pulcher J. E. Gray, 1830

Luciocephalus pulcher, the pikehead, giant pikehead or crocodile pikehead, is a species of gourami native to the Malaya Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo. It is a yellowish-brown fish with dark brown longitudinal bands and stripes, and can reach a length of 20 centimetres (7.9 in) SL.

It can also be found in the aquarium trade,[2] where it is notoriously difficult to keep; they require extremely soft, acidic water and seldom eat dead foods.[3]


It can be found in a variety of habitats like flooded forests, streams, and peat swamps, especially in areas with plentiful vegetation.


Compared to most gouramies, it is a highly specialized ambush predator that spends most of its time lying motionless near plants or other cover for potential prey to approach; when it does attack a potential meal (usually a smaller fish), it is able to extend its jaw to about one-third of its body length, allowing it to successfully prey upon fishes almost half of its own length.

Like several closely related genera (such as Sphaerichthys), it is a mouthbrooder (in this case a paternal mouthbrooder).


  1. ^ Low, B.W. (2019). "Luciocephalus pulcher". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T89808937A89808945. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-2.RLTS.T89808937A89808945.en. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2014). "Luciocephalus pulcher" in FishBase. February 2014 version.
  3. ^ "Luciocephalus pulcher (Giant Pikehead) — Seriously Fish".