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Catfish, of the order Siluriformes, are defined for their notable barbels, slender, whisker-like tactile organs close to the mouth, giving them a cat-like appearance. Primarily found in freshwater habitats on every continent except Antarctica, catfish are mostly scavengers that feed on almost any kind of animal or vegetable matter.
See the fact file below for more information on the catfish or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Catfish worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Catfish are categorized under the Chordata phylum, Vertebrata subphylum, Actinopterygii class, Siluriformes order, and Mematognathi suborder. They also belong to the Ostariophysi superoder, which consists of the Cypriniformes, Characiformes, Gonorynchiformes, and Gymnotiformes.
- In Nelson’s 1994 book, Fishes of the World (third edition), he listed 34 families of catfish, housing about 412 genera and 2,405 species. The Catalog of Fishes database includes 2,855 recognized species of catfish.
- In June of 2005, scientists identified a new family of catfish, Lacantuniidae, only the third newly found family of fish distinguished in the last 70 years.
- Compared to other fish, the catfish lacks scales.
- It usually possesses an adipose fin, a fleshy, rayless posterior fin, and often spines that grow at the front of the dorsal and pectoral fins. The dorsal fin of most catfish species normally has two spines, with the first one appearing to be very short in length.
- Its body is either naked or covered with bony plates.
- Typically, there are up to four pairs of barbels on the head – two on the chin, one nasal, and one maxillary, but the nasal and chin barbels may be missing. With the exception of the Diplomystidae family, the maxilla is toothless.
- The madtoms of the streams in North America have vibrant patterns, although the majority of the catfish are dull-colored.
- Some catfish species can communicate with each other. There are some that make use of an approach called stridulation to create communicative sounds, such as marine catfish that have the base of the pectoral fin stroking against the pectoral girdle to make sounds. Other species utilize the springfederapparat, an elastic spring apparatus or altered swim bladder technique, to communicate with each other through vibrations in the swim bladder.
- Some species can impose painful stings with their spine-like rays, such as instances with the stone and tadpole catfishes and the madtom. The sturdy, hollow, bony leading ray attached on their dorsal and pectoral fins secrete a stinging protein, which originates from the poison glands found in the epidermal tissue enclosing the spines. For members of the family Plotosidae, and of the genus Heteropneustes, this protein is so strong it may hospitalize humans.
- In most catfish, their fins may be held open and locked in position.
- Most catfish do not sting, but the Heteropneustes fossilis of India is an aggressive species, with a history of attacking humans.
- Catfish are monophyletic, or organisms that are grouped under the same taxon that share a most common recent ancestor, in their development of the upper jaw, which gives them the ability to move and support the catfish’s barbels.
- Their life expectancy can reach up to 60 years, which usually depends on the species and location.
- A catfish possesses well-developed sensory organs which cover most of its body.
- Unlike other fish species whose swim bladder is independent of the inner ear, a catfish’s sense of hearing can detect vibrations, having a hearing apparatus in its swim bladder. It is able to hear sounds of up to about 13,000 cycles per second.
- Sounds that are too soft for the catfish’s inner ear are acquired by a chain of little pores stretching down the length of the fish called the lateral line. These pores can also be spotted around the catfish’s eye, on its lower jaw, and head. There are small hair-like projections inside the pores that resemble those of the inner ear. Stimulation of the nerve endings is caused by the movement of these hair-like projections in the water, which in turn gives a signal to the brain. Through this approach, the catfish can detect its prey and locate other fish. Its lateral line can find creatures at the surface, swimming through the water, or even those wandering near the shore.
- The Corydoras arcuatus, for instance, has a smooth skin filled with taste buds. Even the smallest catfish species can have 250,000 external taste buds. Bullheads are ultra-sensitive to low-frequency vibrations, and the Chinese use these species to locate movements beneath the earth’s crust days prior.
- Channel catfish cultivated in aquaculture ponds are also sensitive to sounds. When being fed, these species react even when the catfish farmer is 100 yards away.
- The back of their eyes are glazed with a layer of crystals that reflect light, giving them superior vision and making them excellent hunters.
- Catfish vary in size and behavior form the heaviest, the Mekong giant catfish in Southeast Asia, and the longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores, or species that feed on dead matters on the bottom, and even to a tiny parasitic species known as the candiru, Vandellia cirrhosa, which are notorious for attacking humans by penetrating through the urethra. Members of most madtom species are at most five inches long, although some are even less than two inches.
- Danube catfish, Silurus glanis, known as wels, or sheatfish, extend to a length of 13 feet and weigh about 400 pounds. These species are the sole native catfish found in Europe, aside from the smaller Aristotle catfish of Greece. According to mythology and literature, wels catfish have outstanding proportions, although this assumption has not been scientifically proven yet. The average size of the species is about 1.2 meters to 1.6 meters, and catfish that exceed 2 meters are very uncommon. The largest recorded specimens measure at least 2.5 meters in length and often weigh more than 100 kilograms. The wels catfish was brought to Britain, Italy, Spain, Greece, and other countries during the previous century. It has thrived in the warm lakes and rivers of southern Europe. The Danube River, Po River in Italy, and the Ebro River in Spain are some of the hotspots for huge wels catfish, which reach up to two meters.
- The majority of the catfish species in the wild spawn once annually, reaching sexual maturity from three to five years. In catfish farms, the normal time for maturity declines.
- Male channel catfish nest in mud banks along rivers, streams, lakes, or ponds. He guards the unhatched eggs and young, which reach a number of 3,000 to 4,000 eggs per pound of the female’s body weight.
- The flathead catfish can produce up to 100,000 eggs in just a single spawning cycle. These eggs hatch within five to ten days, wherein the fry display a yolk-like sac that nourishes them for two to five days.
CATFISH AS FOOD
- Catfish, especially the channel catfish and blue catfish, are a popular food in the southeastern United States.
- Among the favorite catfish dishes are breaded with cornmeal and fried.
- They are cultivated in warm climates. Commercial catfish production reaches over 46 percent of the value of aquaculture production in the United States.
- A number of walking catfish, Clariidae, and shark catfish, Pangasiidae, species are cultured in Africa and Asia.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the catfish across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Catfish worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the catfish, of the order Siluriformes, which are defined for their notable barbels, slender, whisker-like tactile organs close to the mouth, giving them a cat-like appearance. Primarily found in freshwater habitats on every continent except Antarctica, catfish are mostly scavengers that feed on almost any kind of animal or vegetable matter.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Catfish Facts
- Catfish Overview
- Label a Catfish
- Fill in the Tank
- Catfish Species
- Catfish Puzzle
- Catfish Wiki
- Catfish Recipe
- Cat and Dog
- Human Uses
- Catfish Life Cycle
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Link will appear as Catfish Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 17, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.