Anabantoids occur in fresh waters of sub-Saharan Africa, and south and Southeast Asia. The genera Ctenopoma, Mi-croctenopoma, and Sandelia occur only in Africa. The latter genus is confined to the Cape region and separated by a distributional gap from the other African anabantids. Most Asian species are widely distributed, but some have a greatly restricted distribution, such as Belontia signata and Malpulutta kretseri, known only from Ceylon, or Parosphromenus deissneri, Betta miniopinna, B. schalleri, B. burdigala, and B. chloropharynx, restricted to Banka Island in Indonesia. The
northernmost distributed species is Macropodus ocellatus, from China and Korea.
Several species have been exported as food fishes or have been released accidentally from aquarium stocks to areas outside their natural ranges.
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