Characteristics Of Catfish
The great majority of the catfish fish that exist belong to the order of the Siluriformes. It is also called catfish because they have whiskers formed of tentacles in the mouth that resemble the whiskers of cats. These mustaches are called filamentous chins. There are some fish that have them under the mouth or even in the muzzle itself. As in cats, these filaments are used as a sensory organ, easily detecting the food they are going to consume.
In their bodies, they have sharp and retractable spines in the anterior part of their dorsal and pectoral fin. These spines are very useful in natural ecosystems when they are attacked by some type of predator. In addition, in lagoons of those thorns, they possess poisonous glands that can inject their prey. Depending on the species of catfish we see, they may or may not have these spines. Throughout the evolution of this species, the thorns have been lost.
A special feature of catfish is that it has very hard skin and no scales. There are some groups that have dermal plates that serve as an armor to protect against predatory attack. This shell has been evolving and replacing scales.
Depending on the species we can find some different sizes ranging from 50 centimeters to 2 meters in length. It can really become very large. As for the weight, we find it between 5 kilograms and 200. The largest catfish ever recorded had dimensions of 3 meters in length and 250 kilos in weight.
Distribution, Area, And Habitat
This species is found in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is common to see them in the Gulf of Mexico and in other states.
Its natural habitat is limited to tropical and subtropical areas. Where they are most abundant, it is close to the areas of freshwater and large rivers. Whether in the river or at sea, it never usually inhabits very deep areas, but with abundant vegetation to hide from its predators.
Behavior And Feeding
It is a fairly peaceful fish. However, when he feels threatened he is able to release a poison that he has stored in the fin spines. The magnitude of the poison depends on the type of species.
The biggest predator that catfish has is the human being. Its biggest threat is the constant fishing of this specimen for its meat. Moreover, as for his ability to hunt, he is a great opportunist who manages to feed himself without making any effort.
Their diet varies if their natural habitat is river or sea. Those who live in the river waiting for the current to bring their food. Therefore, he is not considered a great hunter, but an opportunist. Quite the opposite occurs with those who live in the sea. Their favorite prey is some fishes smaller than them and crustaceans.
Reproduction Of Catfish
When it reaches a length of 25 cm it is considered that it has reached its sexual maturity. The reproduction process begins when the spring season approaches and temperatures rise. Its fertilization is external. To do this, females lay eggs only once a year. However, male fish are able to fertilize several females.
If we want reproduction to begin in a fishbowl, it is important to keep the temperature at about 20 degrees. The conditions of their natural habitat must be simulated as well as possible. On the other hand, the time it takes to hatch the eggs will be about 8 days.
The meat of catfish is in high demand due to its high quality and cost. Therefore, it has a large amount of protein and an exquisite taste.