Catfish

From Academic Kids

For "Atlantic catfish", see seawolf.

Catfish

Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Actinopterygii
Order:Siluriformes
Families

Akysidae
Amblycipitidae
Amphiliidae
Ariidae
Aspredinidae
Astroblepidae
Auchenipteridae
Bagridae
Callichthyidae
Cetopsidae
Chacidae
Clariidae
Claroteidae
Cranoglanididae
Diplomystidae
Doradidae
Hypophthalmidae
Ictaluridae
Lacantuniidae
Loricariidae
Malapteruridae
Mochokidae
Nematogenyidae
Pangasiidae
Parakysidae
Pimelodidae
Plotosidae
Schilbeidae
Scoloplacidae
Siluridae
Sisoridae
Trichomycteridae

Catfish (order Siluriformes) are a diverse group of fish. Notable for their prominent barbels, they are found in freshwater environments of all kinds, with species on every continent except Antarctica. Some species from the families Ariidae and Plotosidae are also found in marine environs.

Catfish belong to a superorder called the Ostariophysi, which also includes the Cypriniformes, Characiformes, and Gymnotiformes (although some place Gymnotiformes as a sub-order of Siluriformes). As of 2005 there are 37 catfish families, although this number is in constant flux due to taxonomic work on the order.

In June, 2005, researchers named the 37th family of catfish, Lacantuniidae, only the third new family of fish distinguished in the last 70 years (others being the coelacanth in 1938 and the megamouth shark in 1983). The new species in Lacantuniidae, Lacantunia enigmatica, was found in the Lacantun river in Chiapas, Mexico.

Catfish have no scales. All catfish, except members of Malapteruridae (electric catfish), possess a strong, hollow, bonified leading ray on their dorsal and pectoral fins, through which a stinging protein can be delivered if the fish is irritated. In members of the family Plotosidae, and of the genus Heteropneustes, this protein is so strong it may hospitalize humans unfortunate enough to receive a sting.

Catfish range in size and behavior from the largest giant Mekong catfish (Pangasius gigas) in Southeast Asia, to detritivores (species that eat dead material on the bottom), and even to a tiny parasitic species commonly called the candiru (Vandellia cirrhosa). Catfish are one of the few North American fish to nurse their young.

The largest wels catfish (Silurus glanis) was caught by Kevin Maddocks on August 6,1999, recorded at 202 pounds (91.62 kilograms). Recently Tim Pruitt of Illinois caught the largest blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) in the Mississippi River on May 22nd, 2005 that weighed in at 124 pounds (56.25 kilograms). The largest flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) ever caught was in Independence, Kansas, weighed at 123 pounds 9 ounces (56 kilograms). These records pale in comparision to the giant Mekong catfish (Pangasius gigas) in Southeast Asia, which can tip the scales at more than 660 pounds (300 kilograms).

Catfish are important food fish throughout the world. Ictalurids are cultivated in North America (especially in the Deep South), while Clariids and Pangasiids are heavily cultured in Africa and Asia. There is also a large and growing ornamental fish trade, with catfish a popular component of many aquaria.

In the United States, June 25 is National Catfish Day.

Examples of catfish species:

Missing image
Catfish_1.jpg


Resources

"Researchers identify new species". CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/06/15/catfish.species.ap/index.html). Retrieved Jun. 16, 2005.da:Malle de:Welsartige es:Bagre fr:Poisson-chat id:Lele it:Siluro ja:ナマズ lt:Šamažuvės ms:Ikan keli zh:鲇形目

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