What is a catfish?

What is a catfish (noun)?

cat·fish (/ˈkatˌfiSH/)
noun
  1. catfish (or catfishes; order Siluriformes or Nematognathi) are a diverse group or ray-finned fish
  2. catfish (informal american english) is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using any sort of social media and/or digital mean to create a false identity to pursue deceptive online activities or various nature.

Since we are the catfish conference and our love and affection is clearly directed to the catfish fish, we thought readers deserved a little more technical information about this great fish. The information here below is sourced from Wikipedia (the free encyclopedia – this means some information could not be exactly correct and/or need some update) and other sites and publications. Soures will be indicated when available. 


Common catfish in the USA:

Information sourced from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Ressources (http://fw.ky.gov/Fish/Pages/Catfish.aspx)

 

Yellow Bullhead catfish What is a catfish? YellowBullheadthumb
  • A medium-sized catfish with a stout body and caudal fin with a rounded or nearly straight margin
  • Color is olive-brown to black on the back and sides, grading to pale yellow or white on the belly
  • Adults grow to about 18 in. (4 lbs.)

Identification:  A medium-sized catfish with a stout body and caudal fin with a rounded or nearly straight margin. Color is olive-brown to black on the back and sides, grading to pale yellow or white on the belly. It is most similar to the Black Bullhead, but differs by having white or pale yellow (vs. black) chin barbels and anal fin with a straight (vs. rounded) margin. Adults grow to about 18 in. (4 lbs.).

Distribution and Habitat:  Common statewide in a variety of habitats, but most frequently found in pools or sluggish backwaters of streams and reservoirs over soft bottoms with accumulated debris.


Blue Catfish catfish What is a catfish? bluecatfishthumb
  • A large, heavy-bodied catfish with a deeply-forked caudal fin
  • Color is pale blue to gray on the back and sides, fading to white on the lower sides and belly
  • Similar to Channel Catfish but differs by having a long, straight-edged (vs. shorter, rounded) anal fin and no dark spots on the body
  • Adults can grow to about 5.5 ft. (150 lbs.), but fish ranging from 20-50 in. (3-60 lbs.) are most common
Identification:   A large, heavy-bodied catfish with a deeply-forked caudal fin. Color is pale blue to gray on the back and sides, fading to white on the lower sides and belly. It is similar to the Channel Catfish, but differs by having a long, straight-edged (vs. shorter, rounded) anal fin and no dark spots on the body. Adults can grow to about 5.5 ft. (150 lbs.), but individuals ranging from 20-50 in. (3-60 lbs.) are most common. 
Distribution and Habitat:  Occurs in main channels, backwaters, and embayments of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, lower reaches of their major tributaries, as well as open waters of large reservoirs. The Blue Catfish is stocked as a sport fish in several reservoirs in central and western Kentucky.

Channel Catfish catfish What is a catfish? Channelcatfishthumb
  • A long, slender-bodied catfish with a deeply-forked caudal fin
  • Color is olive to pale gray on the back and sides, often with small black spots, and a white belly
  • Similar to the Blue Catfish but differs by having a rounded (vs. straight) anal fin margin and dark spots on the sides of the body (vs. spots absent)
  • Adults can grow to about 4 ft. (60 lbs.), but typically range from 12-32 in. (1-15 lbs.)
Identification:   A long, slender-bodied catfish with a deeply-forked caudal fin. Color is olive to pale gray on the back and sides, often with small black spots, and a white belly. It is similar to the Blue Catfish, but differs by having a rounded (vs. straight) anal fin margin and dark spots on the sides of the body (vs. spots absent). Adults can grow to about 4 ft. (60 lbs.), but typically range from 12-32 in. (1-15 lbs.).
Distribution and Habitat:   Common statewide in medium-sized streams to large rivers, but adaptable to a variety of habitats. Valued as a sport and food fish, the Channel Catfish is routinely stocked in ponds and reservoirs throughout the state.

Stonecat catfish What is a catfish? Stonecatthumb
  • A small catfish with a long, slender body and a straight to slightly rounded caudal fin margin
  • Color is dark grey on the back and sides, with a light spot just behind the dorsal fin, and white belly
  • The adipose fin is fused with the caudal fin, which distinguishes it from the bullheads and larger catfish species
  • Adults grow to about 12 inches
Identification:   A small catfish with a long, slender body and a straight to slightly rounded caudal fin margin. Color is dark grey on the back and sides, with a light spot just behind the dorsal fin, and white belly. As with other madtoms, the adipose fin is fused with the caudal fin, which distinguishes it from the bullheads and larger catfish species. Adults grow to about 12 in.
Distribution and Habitat:   Common in the eastern half of the state, where it inhabits swift, rocky riffles of streams and rivers.

Brindled Madtom catfish What is a catfish? brindledmadtomthumb
  • A small catfish with a short, stout body and rounded caudal fin margin
  • Color is tan to pale yellow with 3-4 dark saddles or bands crossing the back, a black spot near the tip of the dorsal fin, and dark blotch passing through the adipose fin
  • The adipose fin is fused with the caudal fin
  • Adults grow to 5 inches
Identification:   A small catfish with a short, stout body and rounded caudal fin margin. Color is tan to pale yellow with 3-4 dark saddles or band crossing the back, a black spot near the tip of the dorsal fin, and dark blotch passing through the adipose fin. The adipose fin is fused with the caudal fin. Adults grow to about 5 in.
Distribution and Habitat:   Occurs throughout the state, primarily in small to medium-sized streams in soft-bottomed pools among rocks and woody debris (e.g., sticks, leaves, and tree roots).
Flathead Catfish catfish What is a catfish? flatheadcatfishthumb
  • A large, slender-bodied catfish with a broad, flattened head and projecting lower jaw
  • Color is yellow to brown, with dark brown and black mottling on the back and sides, fading to pale yellow or white on the belly
  • A white tip on the upper lobe of the caudal fin is usually visible
  • Adults grow to at least 5 ft. (120 lbs.), but fish ranging from 15-50 in. (1-60 lbs.) are most common
Identification:   A large, slender-bodied catfish with a broad, flattened head and projecting lower jaw. Color is yellow to brown, with dark brown and black mottling on the back and sides, fading to pale yellow or white on the belly. A white tip on the upper lobe of the caudal fin is usually visible, except in very large fish. Adults can grow to at least 5 ft. (120 lbs.), but most individuals ranging from 15-50 in. (1-60 lbs.) are most common.
Distribution and Habitat:   Common statewide in sluggish streams, rivers, and reservoirs. Adults occupy deep pools around fallen timber, brush piles, and other debris. Juveniles and smaller individuals occur in swift, shallow areas (e.g., riffles) over rocky or firm sand bottoms.

Other General information about Catfish:

Catfish (or catfishes; orderSiluriformes or Nematognathi) are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat‘s whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the three largest species, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia, the wels catfishof Eurasia and the Piraíba of South America, to detritivores(species that eat dead material on the bottom), and even to a tiny parasitic species commonly called the candiru, Vandellia cirrhosa. There are armour-plated types and there are also naked types, neither having scales. Despite their name, not all catfish have prominent barbel. Members of the Siluriformes order are defined by features of the skull and swimbladder. Catfish are of considerable commercial importance; many of the larger species are farmed or fished for food. Many of the smaller species, particularly the genus Corydoras, are important in the aquarium hobby. Many catfish are nocturnal,[3][4] but others (many Auchenipteridae) are crepuscularor diurnal (most Loricariidae or Callichthyidae for example).


Scientific classification:

Black Bullhead Catfish catfish What is a catfish? Ameiurus melas by Duane Raver 300x128

Black Bullhead Catfish

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Superclass: Osteichthyes

Class: Actinopterygii

Subclass: Neopterygii

Infraclass: Teleostei

Superorder: Ostariophysi

Order: Siluriformes (G. Cuvier, 1817)


Various families of Catfish: