To listen to this article, please select Control + Shift + Z to launch the pop-up player.

Browser out-of-date!

You are using an out-of-date web browser, to avoid problems when using A-Z Animals and other sites we strongly recommend you upgrade to the latest version of your web browser!
Get Firefox Get Google Chrome Get Opera Get Microsoft Internet Explorer Get Apple Safari
Remove Advertising
A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources

Animals >>

Catfish


 Add to Phobia Filter  Contribute  Print  Listen
Electric catfish (Malapterurus electricus)
Catfish, Montreal Biodome
A young male Bristlenose Catfish
Striped eel catfish (Plotosus lineatus)
Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
Catfish are a group of bottom-feeding fish that are found in freshwater habitats and coastal regions on and around every continent in the world with the exception of Antarctica. Catfish are most easily identified by their flattened broad heads and the long whisker-like barbels that protrude from the mouth of the catfish.

The long barbels of the catfish contain the taste buds of the catfish and so are often most commonly used for smelling and therefore sensing what is about to eat (and to hide from) in the surrounding waters. Despite the name however, not all catfish species have prominent whisker-like barbels.

There are nearly 3,000 known species of catfish in the world but it is thought that the actual number of catfish species could be as high as 4,500 as many species of catfish are found in areas where there is little or no human contact. Although catfish can generally be found in faster-flowing rivers and streams, some catfish species have adapted to living in shallow salt-water environments while other catfish species live their lives in caves underground.

The average catfish is around a meter in length usually slightly less depending on the species. Catfish however can range in size from just a centimetre in length to more than two meters long. The largest species of catfish is the Mekong catfish, which is found inhabiting parts of the Mekong river that flows through Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The largest Mekong catfish ever found measured nearly 3 meters in length.

Catfish generally have a carnivorous diet, although the tiny catfish species have been known to ingest small aquatic plants. Catfish tend to feed on fish, insects and worms that dwell close to the river bed, along with amphibians such as frogs and newts and occasionally small reptiles and mammals.

Due to the wide diversity and range of the catfish, the catfish has numerous predators all around the world. Large fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and even birds all prey on the 3,000 different catfish species.

Female catfish spawn (lay their eggs) close to the surface of the water where they are safe from other bottom-dwelling aquatic animals. Female catfish lay between 10 and 90 little eggs at a time which hatch in less than a week.


Catfish Comments (7)

Ella

"This is awesome"

chica

"This site is perfect for my project"

pranav

"very good site"

Showing 3 of 7 comments.

Show More Comments

Post Comment

Your Name:

Article Rating:

Your Comment:



Catfish Translations

Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia
Lele
 
Malay Bahasa Melayu
Ikan Keli
 
Danish Dansk
Malle
 
German Deutsch
Welsartige
 
English English
Catfish
 
French Français
Poisson-chat
 
Croatian Hrvatski
Somovke
 
Italian Italiano
Pesce gatto
 
Latin Latina
Siluriformes
 
Dutch Nederlands
Meervalachtigen
 
Norwegian Norsk
Maller
 
Polish Polski
Sumokształtne
 
Portuguese Português
Peixe-gato
 
Finnish Suomi
Monnikalat
 
Swedish Svenska
Malartade fiskar
 
Chinese 中文
鲇形目
 

Article Tools

Print Article
View printer friendly version of Catfish article.
 
Listen to Article
Listen to audio version of Catfish article. Hot key: CTRL key + Shift key + Z key

Catfish Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things...
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom...
Chordata
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum...
Osteichthyes
Order:
A group of animals within a class...
Siluriformes
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species...
Siluriformes
Origin:
The area where the animal first came from...
Warm freshwater
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats...
Carnivore
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is...
1cm - 270cm (0.4in - 106in)
Water Type:
Either freshwater, brakish or salt...
Fresh
Optimum pH Level:
The perfect acidity conditions for the animal...
6.5 - 8.0
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for...
8 - 20 years
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct...
Threatened
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings...
Brown, Black, Yellow, White, Tan, Grey
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal...
Scales
Favourite Food:Fish
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives...
Fast-flowing rivers and lakes
Average Clutch Size:
The average number of eggs laif at once...
40
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from...
Fish, Frogs, Worms
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal...
Large Fish, Birds, Mammals, Reptiles
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to the animal...
Flat, broad head and whiskers

Related Animals

BarbBarb
There are over 2,000 known species!