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Betta cracens

Betta cracens
Blue Spotted Betta
Betta cracens is a rare species in the aquatic hobby with most of the fish being offered for sale under the name tending to be misidentified/intentionally mislabelled batches of B. pugnax or B. raja . It is included in the B. pugnax complex of closely-related species, an assemblage which currently includes B. breviobesus, Betta cracens, B. enisae , B. fusca, B. lehi , B. prima , B. pugnax , B. pulchra, B. raja , B. schalleri and B. stigmosa . B. apollon and B. ferox, two Thai species described by Schindler & Schmidt in 2006 are also tentatively included in the group although these are not recognised as valid by all authorities (the pair are omitted from Fishbase at time of writing for example). 

The pugnax group thus occupies a somewhat enigmatic position among hobbyists. Its members are notoriously difficult to identify correctly plus it seems that if a detailed analysis of B. pugnax itself (including its remaining geographical forms; some of these having already been reclassified as distinct species) is conducted even more new species may be raised. The fact that different authors also tend to have varying opinions about exactly which species should be placed within the group hardly helps the situation. What is clear is that a comprehensive phylogenetic study of the entire genus is required in order to make definitive statements regarding the position of Betta species in relation to one another. Until this occurs a certain degree of confusion would appear to be inevitable. 

In the 2005 description paper Tan and Ng listed the unique combination of characters distinguishing Betta cracens from others in the pugnax group as follows: "large head (head length 33.2-33.8% SL); anal fin rays 24-25; lateral scales 29; body depth 30.9-31.7% SL; predorsal length 68.5-70.2% SL; preanal length 49.0-50.3%; body length 70.4-70.8% SL."