EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: Teachable Moment: 10 Catfish Facts

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Teachable Moment: 10 Catfish Facts

Celebrating August as Catfish Month

August was named National Catfish Month in the 1980s as a way to recognize the innovations of U.S. Catfish farmers. The practice of raising fish in freshwater farms on all natural feed is considered extremely earth-friendly and one of the safest choices for farm-raised food in the United States. They may be raised in captivity these days, but that is no reason not to celebrate the diversity and tenaciousness of catfish in the wild! You can probably identify catfish by their whiskers, but did you know that...
1. Catfish inhabit every continent but Antarctica and every U.S. state but Alaska.

2. There are 3000 recorded species of catfish. There are probably 1500 more that no one has ever seen since they may inhabit waters that aren't readily accessible to people.
3. Catfish are found in fresh water habitats and coastal regions. Most are found in rivers and streams, but several species have adapted to shallow salt-water environments. There are even a few species that live in caves!

4. Catfish have no scales! Some species breath through their naked skin while others are covered in boney plates like armor. All species (except electric catfish) have a hollow, pointy spine on their top and side fins that they can use to defend themselves (and cause serious injury). A few species are even venomous and can sting with their spines.
5. Catfish may have up to four pairs of whiskers around their nose and mouth, and two pairs on their chins. This number varies depending on species. These 'barbels' contain taste buds and so are used to tell the difference between what is good to eat and what to hide from down in the murky river bottoms.

6. Although technically omnivores, catfish tend to feed on other fish, insects and worms that dwell close to their rivers. Amphibians like frogs and newts and occasionally small reptiles and mammals who get too close to the waters edge are also fair game. The tiniest catfish species eat even tinier water plants.
7. Catfish are known as 'bottom feeders' since that's usually where they and their food can be found. They have a tendency to sink rather than float in the water. This is due to their relatively small gas bladders (which fish fill with air to change their depth while swimming) and gigantic boney heads.

8. The average catfish is a little less than three feet long. But they range in size from just half an inch in length to more than six feet long. The largest species of catfish is the Mekong catfish found in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The largest Mekong catfish ever found measured nine feet in length and weighed 645 pounds.
9. Their predators include bigger fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and very brave birds. It takes a pretty big fish to have a nine foot catfish for dinner.

10. Fish intelligence is difficult to measure (as you can imagine) but in one study, channel catfish ranked at the head of the class with the ability to learn and retain information.

Your Catfish Friend

by Richard Brautigan

"If I were to live my life

in catfish forms

in scaffolds of skin and whiskers

at the bottom of a pond

and you were to come by

one evening

when the moon was shining

down into my dark home

and stand there at the edge

of my affection

and think, "It's beautiful

here by this pond. I wish

somebody loved me,"

I'd love you and be your catfish

friend and drive such lonely

thoughts from your mind

and suddenly you would be

at peace,

and ask yourself, "I wonder

if there are any catfish

in this pond? It seems like

a perfect place for them."

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article. :) I think catfish are really cute and strange looking. Thanks for featuring my card.


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