Facts About Catfish

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Catfish refers to any fish in the order of Siluriformes. All catfish have at least one pair of long barbels or feelers on the mouth, giving them the appearance of a cat, hence the name. There are about 2900 species of catfish. Most of them live in freshwater and none of them have scales. They are either naked or armoured with bony plates. Catfish vary in size. Very small cat fish like the micro cat can be as small as 4 cm while larger species like the European variety, the wels can grow up to 4.5 meters long.

FACT 1: On Feb 27, 2015, an Italian angler hauled in 280 pound catfish from the Po River. The fish was 2.67 meters long. This was a wels cat fish. After photographing it, the angler released the fish back into the river.

FACT 2: The wels catfish is the largest freshwater fish in Europe. They can grow up to 4.6 meters and weigh up to 300 kg. They may live as long as 80 years and like all other fish continue to grow as long as they feed.

FACT 3: The wels catfish is native to Eastern Europe and was introduced to Italy and Spain in the 1970’s, by anglers. It flourishes in these warmer waters where it finds an abundance of prey and has no natural predator. They are not fussy eaters and eat a variety of other fish as well as rodents and birds which they catch by beaching themselves.

FACT 4: The electric catfish of Africa can generate up to 450 volts of electricity. The talking catfish is an armoured Amazonian species that makes a grunting sound. The walking cat fish is an air breather and can travel overland. The upside down catfish habitually swims upside down.

FACT 5: About one in every four freshwater  fish is a catfish and one in every ten of the world’s  fish is a catfish. They are found all over the world in a variety of habitats. The few species of marine catfish are found in the shore waters if the tropics.

FACT 6: Most cat fish are bottom dwellers and are more active in the night. They are scavengers and feed on almost any kind of plant or animal matter. All catfish are egg layers, but different species have different parenting techniques. Some build and guard nests and protect their young. The male sea catfish carries marble sized eggs in his mouth and later carries the young fish about.

FACT 7: All over the world the smaller catfish varieties are popular as aquarium fish and the larger edible ones as food. In North America the blue catfish and the channel catfish are food and sport fish.

FACT 8: James Augustus Hunter, a very successful American baseball player was nicknamed Catfish, because he was an ardent angler.

FACT 9: In Cambodia, the Mekong Giant Catfish inhabits the Tome Sap Lake. Once a year it leaves the lake to enter the Mekong River, for the annual spawning cycle. Breeding begins at the onset of the rainy season (May to July). This catfish swims close to the surface with its dorsal fin above the water. Like all other catfish they have no scales but their delicate skin is covered with a protective layer of slime that gives them a shiny glow.  They have been nicknamed the iridescent shark cat fish. Millions of people in South East Asia depend on the Mekong for sustenance. This has led to over fishing. Over fishing combined with habitat fragmentation and industrial pollution have made this catfish one of the few endangered catfish.

FACT 10: In modern terminology a catfish is someone, male or female, who pretends to be someone they’re not on Facebook or other social media, to create false identities, especially to pursue deceptive romantic relationships.

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