Is it possible that bettas are territorial because we've accidentally bred them this way by keeping them in tiny cups their entire lives? Think of how many generations of bettas have been bred and kept in tiny cups. You would be aggressive and territorial too if you were kept in a closet your whole life and then expected to share a big room with a bunch of other people. I can't help but to feel that we're to blame.
Neither do most animals. In the wild, one gives up and swims away. They can't do that in a tank. I've heard stories of people keeping multiple males from the same fry(growing up together so they're 'used' to it, same sizes and never exposed to females) in very large, heavily decorated tanks but even then I wouldn't risk it because you do have a point - our domesticated bettas are more aggressive than the wild ones.
Yes, while Betta splendens and Betta imbellis are usually considered different species, they can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Many people consider imbellis to be the wild form of splendens, yet imbellis are nowhere near as aggressive as splendens, they show so little aggression in fact that their common name is "peaceful betta".
The fish that were aggressive enough to win fights were the only ones able to breed and pass on their genes. The weaker and more passive animals were mostly killed in fights, and were therefore unable to breed and produce offspring. Due to this, most shop-bought bettas are also aggressive to each other, as they descend from the ones used in the fighting trade.
>Due to this, most shop-bought bettas are also aggressive to each other, as they descend from the ones used in the fighting trade.
only if we pretend the ones in shops still have to win some fights before they get to breed.
if the aggression isn't useful it's lost. And none of the ones you can buy at petsmart were bred to fight.
Bettas are a type of gourami, and ALL gouramis are known to be aggressive. That's the most common thing I hear about aquariums, never EVER keep multiple gouramis together, even if they are different species. Sooner or later they will kill each other.
No, most are bred for colours now and ugly ones are the ones that are disallowed to breed. But the original strain of captive bettas were aggressive fighting fish, and these fish were the ones that started the ornamental betta trade, most modern bettas descend from the ones used in Siamese fighting matches.
>most modern bettas descend from the ones used in Siamese fighting matches
yes, but because of genetic drift and the thousands of generations removed they are from fighting stock, it doesn't matter.
they've lost any aggression they had bred into them by now.
any aggression you see now is pretty much whatever they had in nature before they were bred for it.
regression to the mean, genetic drift. You might have blue eyes but that doesn't mean your great great great great great grandkids will.
No the ancestor of betta fish must have experienced this phenomenon before humans intervened. Otherwise their genes would just pass on a non-territorial DNA when two betta reproduced, I believe. It isn't training.