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Catfish

Drawing © Radek Doško

  • Latin name: Silurus glanis
  • Slovak: Sumec obyčajný
  • English: Wels, European Catfish
  • German: Wels, Waller
  • colloquially: catfish (named for their barbells which resemble a cat's whiskers)
  • sort: Cypriniformes
  • family: Siluridae
  • feed: predator
  • life span: more than 30 years
  • sexual maturity: 3rd to 5th year
  • reproduction: May - June
  • common size: 80-160 cm
  • maximum: 300cm

Catfish is the top predator growing to big sizes and when it is adult human beings are the only natural enemies for this species.

It can be found in lowland waters, it likes especially deep rivers with soft bottom and a number of shelters. The catfish does well in large still-waters too.

It is impossible to mistaken a catfish with any other of our fish species.  When they are smaller, they may be mistaken with brown bullhead having apart from the dorsal fin, an adipose fin on its back and four pairs of barbells, which is a pair more than the catfish has.

The catfish is one of the few fish that is scaleless. Its body is long with a large frontal part and the back part of the body is flattened on the sides and downwards the anal fin stretches along the whole length of the fish.

In contrast, the dorsal fin is a small fin of no importance for movement or stability.

The mouth of the catfish is impressive. The mighty jaws covered with numerous small teeth sometimes called “brushes” close the large mouth. The catfish is able to engulf the feed in its enormous throat when moving its low jaw violently.

The catfish is the indigenous species to the Czech waters and it is important in terms of commercial and sport fishing.   It can be found in all large lowland fisheries and it is stocked regularly.

Although the catfish is the biggest predator, its stocking rate will never be so high it could be commonly caught by all sport fishermen.

As this large predator is very attractive it has been introduced to some countries of Western Europe.  The population is not indigenous to France, Italy and Spain, however, catfish thrive well there too and the catfish-fishermen of the whole continent have become interested in them.

You can find more information at www.mrk.cz Section ‘Fish Encyclopaedia’.