Channel catfish

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Channel catfish
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Ictaluridae
Genus: Ictalurus
I. punctatus
Binomial name
Ictalurus punctatus

(Rafinesque, 1818)
Distribution of Ictalurus punctatus
  • Silurus punctatus Rafinesque, 1818

The channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), also called the channel cat, is a species of catfish. It's the official fish of several US states, which are Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee. In the US, it is the most fished catfish species. [2][3]

It has also been introduced in Europe, Asia and South America, and it's legally considered an invasive species in many countries.

Characteristics[change | change source]

These fish have a very keen sense of smell and taste. At the pits of their nostrils are sensitive odor-sensing organs with a high concentration of olfactory receptors.

The barbels of a channel catfish don't actually sting. This is believed by most people to be false. However, these catfish do have spines on their pectoral and dorsal fins. If you do not handle these properly, you'll most likely have injury.

Length and weight[change | change source]

Channel catfish have a top-end size of about 40–50 pounds (18–23 kg). The record-breaking channel cat weighed 58 pounds, and was caught in the Santee-Cooper Reservoir in South Carolina, on July 7, 1964. As channel catfish grow longer, they increase in weight.

Ecology[change | change source]

Feeding[change | change source]

Channel catfish have a lot of taste perception, hence called the swimming tongue, due to the presence of taste buds all over the external body surface and inside the oropharyngeal cavity.

Communication[change | change source]

This fish is adapted to limited light conditions. Members of the genus Ictalurus do not depend solely on visual cues.

Predator communication[change | change source]

Channel catfish can communicate to predators. Pectoral stridulation has been considered to be the main means of agonistic communication towards predators in channel catfish. Relatively noisy sounds are used to startle and scare predators in a manner analogous to the well-documented, visual flash display of various lepidopterans.

Chuck the Channel Catfish, 1986 roadside sculpture in Selkirk, Manitoba

Hearing[change | change source]

The utricle is the primary area of hearing in most fishes (in this case, the channel catfish). The hearing ability is enhanced by the presence of the swim bladder. It is the part that reverberates the echo from other’s sounds.

References[change | change source]

  1. NatureServe (2015). "Ictalurus punctatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 4.1 (4.1). International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  2. Keenan E (2011). "Length, Weight, and Yield in Channel Catfish, Lake Diane, MI". arXiv:1102.4623 [q-bio.OT].
  3. Carlander KD (1969). Handbook of freshwater fishery biology. Vol. 1. Ames, Iowa: The Iowa State University Press.

Other websites[change | change source]

  • Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2011). "Ictalurus punctatus" in FishBase. December 2011 version.