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Catfishes: Siluriformes

Physical Characteristics, Catfishes And People, Conservation Status, Channel Catfish (ictalurus Punctatus): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, BEHAVIOR AND REPRODUCTION

CHANNEL CATFISH (Ictalurus punctatus): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
SQUAREHEAD CATFISH (Chaca chaca): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
CANDIRU (Vandellia cirrhosa): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Catfishes live all over the world except Antarctica.

Most catfishes live in freshwater. Some live in estuaries (EHS-chew-air-eez), or the area where a river meets the sea, and others go into even deeper ocean water.

Most catfishes are bottom feeders and mainly eat invertebrates (in-VER-teh-brehts), or animals without backbones. Some catfishes eat fish, and some feed on fallen leaves and trees as well as algae (AL-jee), which are tiny plantlike growths that live in water and have no true roots, stems, or leaves. Some catfishes eat the blood of other fish.

Catfishes are generally bottom-dwelling. They are solitary, living alone, and are nocturnal (nahk-TER-nuhl) and active at night. Some, however, live far away from the bottom, are active during the day, and may form schools. Catfishes usually engage in courtship activity before spawning, or releasing eggs. They then provide some parental care. Most guarding of eggs and the young is done by males. Sea catfishes carry their eggs in their mouths until they hatch.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded Vertebrates