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Interesting facts about the common catfish

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We found 19 interesting facts about the common catfish

Silurus capitis

It is the largest freshwater fish in Europe. Record individuals living in the Dnieper can reach more than 5 meters in length and 400 kilograms of weight. Reports of such giants date back to the beginning of the 3th century. This does not mean that all catfish are capable of growing to such monstrous sizes; in order for them to reach a body length exceeding XNUMX meters, exceptionally favorable living conditions are needed.


The common catfish, also called the European catfish, belongs to the catfish family.

This family includes 105 species, divided into 14 genera.

The natural range of the common catfish is the inland waters of Central Europe, southern Sweden, Eastern Europe to central Turkey and islands in parts of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan.

It was introduced to Western Europe (western Germany, Denmark, France, southern England and northeastern Spain). In Asia, it was introduced from western Kazakhstan to eastern China.

They can also live in salt water.

Catfish are found in the basins of the Baltic, Black and Caspian seas.

Their body is elongated and without scales, and individual individuals vary in color.

The upperparts are usually darker, mottled and may be spotted with brown, while the sides and undersides are paler. Catfish fins have shades of brown. Sometimes albino individuals are also caught.

They have a long anal fin that extends to the caudal fin and a small, sharp dorsal fin that projects relatively far forward.

The pelvic and pectoral fins are much more proportional to the length of the body than the dorsal fin.

Polish specimens are smaller in size due to temperature and food availability.

The maximum length is about 2,5 meters and the weight is about 120 kg.

Most catfish range in size from 1,3 to 1,6 m, with sizes over 2 m being rare.


They live in warm, deep lakes and large, slow-flowing rivers.

Catfish live in protected places, for example, in underwater branches or depressions at the bottom of reservoirs.

Some anglers have reported attacks by exceptionally large catfish on people.

Animal Planet fisherman Jeremy Wade was once attacked by two previously caught fish while trying to release them into the water. In 2009, in Hungary, one of the fishermen was dragged underwater by the right leg by a catfish weighing more than 100 kg, and he barely managed to get out of trouble.

They are predators, although the fry feed on plankton for the first year of life.

Young catfish feed mainly on invertebrates (crustaceans, snails, insects) and fry, while larger individuals hunt fish, although all vertebrates can become their prey. When hunting, they suddenly suck in water, creating negative pressure when they open their mouths. They are known for their attacks on amphibians and waterfowl.

Despite the fact that their eyes are quite well adapted to a nocturnal lifestyle, catfish rely mainly on hearing, smell and chemical receptors when hunting.

They have a well-developed Weber apparatus and chemoreceptors.

These are long-lived fish, living in the wild for 20 to 30 years.

The record holder among catfish living in the wild lived to be 80 years old. In captivity, catfish can live up to 60 years.

During spawning, males build nests - shallow depressions at the bottom of the tank.

The female lays eggs in the nest (about 30 3 for every kilogram of body weight), which are then guarded by the male. Depending on the water temperature, the juveniles hatch in 10 to 12 days.

Male catfish reach sexual maturity faster than female catfish.

This occurs in the third year of life and in the fourth year of life in women.

Adult catfish have no natural enemies except humans.

Young individuals sometimes become victims of pike.

Catfish are valued in the kitchen for their taste, especially when they are not too large.

Specimens weighing more than 15 kilograms usually have excess adipose tissue and can accumulate large amounts of toxic substances. It is not recommended to eat fish that are too large; it is popular only among sport fishermen who value the fighting power of catfish.

The heaviest catfish caught in Poland weighed 105,5 km and had a length of 259 cm.

The catch was made by Vladislav Bombik on October 17, 2017 in Lake Rybnitsa.

Worldwide, the common catfish is not an endangered species.

However, there is a local population whose numbers have declined and efforts have been made to protect them at the local level. An example is Sweden, where catfish are found in only a few lakes and the individuals living there are characterized by low genetic diversity.

In Poland, catfish are protected from January 1 to May 31 in inland waters and from May 1 to June 15 in the area of ​​inland sea waters west of the meridian 15°23`14`E. and on Lake Dombe.

Caught fish less than 70 cm in length should be released back into the water.

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