Animals / Fishes - All Types of Fish Species / Catfish - Whiskered Wanderer of Murky Waters

Catfish - Whiskered Wanderer of Murky Waters


squeaker catfish

 

Catfish are an order of diverse and interesting animals that are dispersed throughout the world. In fact, at least one species of catfish lives in the waters of every continent in the world, with the exception of Antarctica (and who can blame them!) Most species live in fresh water, and more than half of all species live in North and South America.

 

 

catfish species blue white channel

 

Catfish have become very important to the ecology, diet and culture of many American communities, particularly along the Mississippi delta and in many of the rivers in the American Southeast. Named for their unusually long barbles (Barbles are sensory organs near a fish's mouth which house taste buds and help a fish navigate and find food in murky or muddy waters.) which resemble a cat's whiskers. These barbles have earned it a variety of interesting nicknames in the communities that they swim in - some of the interesting ones include "mud cat" "chucklehead" and "polliwog".

 

catfish species

 

Catfish come in so many varieties and sizes that it can make your head spin - they are one of the most biologically diverse orders of bony fish in the world. Many are around 5 inches in length in adulthood (12 cm) but there are some tiny species which only manage to grow up to three quarters of an inch (~1 cm). Of course, there are some really big catfish out there too - the largest ever recorded was 8 feet long (2.5m) and weighed 220 pounds! (100 kg).

 

monster catfish

 

Catfish are a very important and popular food for many rural communities, but can also be found in just about every supermarket in the USA. In fact, US President Ronald Regan established a National Catfish Day on June 25th 1987 to recognize the importance of farm raised catfish in the diet of the American people - particularly the American Southeast.

 

aquarium catfish

 

 

 

Animal pages