Catfish are known to have thousands of different species, so being able to write about them all would take quite some time, however, these unique fish have such a huge variety that it can be incredibly interesting to discover some of the aspects that make them so different from each other!
So whether you know a lot about Catfish or absolutely nothing at all, this article will highlight some of the most interesting species of Catfish and what differentiates them from other species of Catfish.
So if you want to discover more about this fascinating family of fish, then you only have to read onwards!
These Catfish get their name from their coloring, with their scales commonly featuring a very distinct light to dark blue coloring, which can sometimes even appear black in color when it is at the dark end of the scale.
They don’t feature any spots, but generally, the belly of a Blue Catfish is white.
Size wise, they are most commonly found between 20 to 40 pounds, however, a few have been known to exceed 150 pounds in weight!
Their shape is rather unique too, with a straight anal fin alongside a forked tail, the anal fin usually features anywhere from 30 up to 36 rays on the anal fin.
These Catfish can usually be found in larger rivers, typically along either the main channels or the tributaries.
They are best spotted when over the sandy or rocky bottoms of these bodies of water.
Throughout the summer they’ll tend to swim upstream in an attempt to find colder water, whereas they’ll swim in the opposite direction in the winter to find warmth.
The Channel Catfish differs from the Blue Catfish, as its scales often feature dark spots alongside its olive and brown coloring and its white-silver stomachs.
These Catfish can weigh up to 30 pounds and have a curved anal fin and a forked tail, which makes them very distinctive.
Their anal fin can contain anywhere between 24 and 29 rays too.
Another distinctive feature of the Channel Catfish is their upper jaw, which protrudes out considerably, which means that they stand out a lot when compared to flathead Catfish.
Their usual home consists of rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and large streams, but they much prefer bodies of water with a lower current.
They tend to hunt for food at night, and once adult sized, will tend to eat fish, insects, plants, crustaceans and mussels.
These fish are extremely popular as fish food, which is understandable due to their abundance.
Often seen in a sort of mottled black color, with a hint of brown and a pale yellow coloring, and their stomachs featuring a pale cream color.
These fish can grow to an impressive size, reaching up to 44 inches in length and 20 pounds in weight, but some of these Flathead Catfish have been known to reach up to 100 pounds!
Rather than a forked fin, Flathead Catfish feature a short round anal fin, and often have less than 30 anal rays on the anal fin.
Their name stems from their head shape, which tends to be compared to a board or a shovel.
Their diet consists mainly of other fish, which can actually include other catfish!
These Flathead Catfish are typically found in Central Mexico, where they live in deep, dark pools with cloudy water.
They also tend to prefer bodies of water with very little to no current.
These fish have actually become considered invasive, and their carnivorous diet means that they will commonly eat the fish that dwell in the bottom of water beds and that reproduce in the open.
The Wels Catfish can be particularly hefty, growing up to 16 feet in length and with a top weight 660 pounds, and are the only catfish that is known to be native to Europe.
These large catfish are known to inhabit the Black, Baltic, and Caspian seas. Their size means that the Wels Catfish is commonly fished for sports.
One of the most interesting aspects of these fish is the fact that they can actually change the color of their scales depending on their environment, coupled with their fantastic night vision, these fish are particularly good hunters.
The Bullhead Catfish actually has a lot of different variations, with the brown bullhead, black bullhead, and yellow bullhead all being common throughout the east side of North America, especially in places such as Montana, Texas, as well as Quebec.
As they tend to be found in similar locations to Channel Catfish, the Bullhead Catfish sometimes gets caught by accident, but does make for great fish food if the waters are clear enough.
The Bullhead Catfish typically weighs in at under 2 pounds, and are without a forked tail, with their coloring being rather similar to a Flathead Catfish.
The White Catfish is a species that is native to the Atlantic Coast of the US, and can be found anywhere from Florida, all the way to New York.
These Catfish are actually increasingly popular as their reputation for being excellent table fare grows.
Similarly to Channel Catfish, these Catfish feature a forked tail, but it differs slightly due to having a rounded top instead.
Fully grown, these Catfish can weigh between 2 to 4 pounds, with some exceptions known to reach up to 10 pounds!
These Catfish are omnivores, and as such, will eat anything from clams, crayfish, fish, as well as berries and fruits too.
In conclusion, it is easy to see why so many people find Catfish such an interesting family of fish, each different species has its own distinct characteristics and features, and there are so many more different types of catfish than listed above too!