Not all “cats” are furry.
Check out these fun facts on the catfish!
There are 3,000 species of these common but unusual fish swimming, swishing, and spawning (having babies) around the world.
Catfish are the oldest and most widespread fish in the world. From the 0.39 inches Upside-Down Catfish to the over 600 lbs Mekong Giant Catfish, they range mostly in the inland freshwaters of all continents except Antarctica.
What Kind of Fish Are You?
Catfish are named for a feature of our furry feline friends. They have whiskers called ‘barbels’ . These projections are sensory receptors. Their eyes are tiny and the barbels function to smell and taste in the muddy waters they like to inhabit.
Catfish have a bony spine (backbone) like other fish. Catfish have fins, but their skin is smooth. They have no scales! Mom lays the eggs, but the ‘stay at home’ Dad takes care of the eggs and young fish.
A Fish by Another Name Could Be a Catfish
Species of catfish include the Mekong of SE Asia, the Wels of Eurasia (Europe and Asia) and the huge Piraiba of South America.
Native to lower Canada, the Channel Cat is the most popular edible species in North America.
Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada calls its town the Catfish Capital of the World on the muddy Red River. In 1986, they constructed a 33’ high fiberglass roadside statue called Clyde the Channel Catfish.
It is also the official fish of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska. Other regions of the United States call the catfish: yellow cat, shovelhead, mudcat, and chucklehead.
Catfish are bottom-dwellers, but will rise to the occasion for ‘stinky bait’ (rotten cheese).
Anglers (people who fish) use a ‘rod and reel’ casting method or simple cane pole with a line and hook to catch a catfish.
Trappers set out fish lines or fish traps (which are Illegal in some states) and ‘noodling’ (catching catfish with bare hands) is a favored way of fishing in the catfish loving states of the southern USA.
Growing and cultivating catfish for food is a worldwide industry. Called ‘aquaculture’, Channel Catfish farming in Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas produce over 470,000,000 pounds annually of this mild-flavored fish.
Bred and raised in earthen ponds filled with warm well water, the fish are fed with a floating grain-based nutrient.
Catfish is high in Protein and Vitamin D.
Can Catfish Meow?
Not that we know of – but they do make a variety of noises that sound like ‘burping’, barking’ , ‘croaking’ and ‘squeaking’.
Fish can produce sound by rubbing bony parts of their body together, or by vibrating their ‘swim bladder’ muscles.
There is a rare six-inches-long aquarium catfish called the Talking Catfish because of this ability to make these sounds when taken out of water.
Did You Know?
- Catfish can be silver, gray, green, blue or yellow
- They are ‘omnivores’ that enjoy insects, worms, frogs, and plant material
- Catfish predators are larger fish, birds, reptiles, and people
- There is an Asian Walking Catfish that tiptoes on fins from pool-to-pool
- Catfish have no teeth
- They are ‘vertebrates’ – have a bony skeletal structure
- The 3 main species in North America are the: Channel, Blue, and Flathead Catfish
What do you think of this “fishy cat?” Tell us in the comments section!