Trichopsis vittata (Cuvier, 1831) is a small, freshwater gourami (Fam: Osphronemidae) native to southeast Asia. It was first detected in Florida in the 1970s and seems to have persisted for decades in a small area. In this study, we documented T. vittata’s ecophysiological tolerances (salinity and low-temperature) and qualitatively compared them to published values for other sympatric non-native species that have successfully invaded much of the Florida peninsula. Trichopsis vittata survived acute salinity shifts to 16 psu and was able to survive up to 20 psu when salinity was raised more slowly (5 psu per week). In a cold-tolerance experiment, temperature was lowered from 24 °C at 1 °C hr-1 until fish died. Mean temperature at death (i.e., lower lethal limit) was 7.2 °C. Trichopsis vittata seems as tolerant or more tolerant than many other sympatric non-native fishes for the variables we examined. However, T. vittata is the only species that has not dispersed since its introduction. Species other than T. vittata have broadly invaded ranges, many of which include the entire lower third of the Florida peninsula. It is possible that tolerance to environmental parameters serves as a filter for establishment, wherein candidate species must possess the ability to survive abiotic extremes as a first step. However, a species’ ability to expand its geographic range may ultimately rely on a secondary set of criteria including biotic interactions and life-history variables.
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