by Holladay Allen
Native Foods Cafe
Yesterday, June 25th, was National Catfish Day. So I would like to share some strange facts about the catfish, in hopes you won't want to eat them in anymore AND admire what a bizarrely fascinating species they are.
1. Catfish are nocturnal, like cats!
2. In the United States, catfish species may be known by a variety of slang names, just as mud cat, polliwogs, or chuckleheads.
3. The Plotosus lineatus, or Striped eel-catfish, possess a strong, hollow, bonified leading spine-like ray on their dorsal and pectoral fins. As a defense, these spines may be locked into place so that they stick outwards, which can inflict severe wounds.and also deliver a stinging protein if the fish is irritated, which is so strong it may hospitalize and even kill humans.
4. Extant catfish species live in inland or coastal waters of every continent except Antarctica.
5. In general, they are negatively buoyant, which means that they will usually sink rather than float due to a reduced gas bladder (which also allows for better hearing and sound production) and a heavy, bony head.
6. The largest catfish is the giant Mekong catfish.
Native foods Cafe uses this photo courtesy of National Geographic.
7. Catfish have no scales. Some species have just a mucus covered skin, which they breathe through. And others are covered in bony plates called scutes.
8. The walking catfish, Clarias batrachus, is a species of freshwater airbreathing catfish found primarily in Southeast Asia, so named for its ability to "walk" across dry land, to find food or suitable environments. While it does not truly walk as most bipeds or quadrupeds do, it has the ability to use its pectoral fins to keep it upright as it makes a sort of wiggling motion with snakelike movements.
9. The Candiru catfish, also known as cañero, toothpick fish, or vampire fish, is a parasitic freshwater catfish native to the Amazon River. These smaller species are known for an alleged tendency to invade and parasitise the human urethra.
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