Wels Catfish

The Wels catfish, Silurus glanis, is one of the largest fresh water fish in the world. Accurate measurements over the last couple of decades have shown several specimens of over two metres in length, the longest and heaviest being 2.78m (144kg). It’s a not the most attractive fish you will ever see as it has a long snake-like body, with slimy skin and a huge mouth. Using its long barbels, it tracks its prey by hearing and smelling. The eyesight of a Wels catfish is fairly poor, but it enjoys a tapetum lucidum which gives it reasonable vision at night. They eat insects, crustaceans and other fish. The larger ones go after small mammals and aquatic birds. It is rarely kept in the aquarium due to its sheer size.

This giant fish has been introduced in several European rivers, including the Seine and Po rivers in France and Italy respectively. In some areas, they are known to lunge out of the water to grab pigeons on land. Check youtube for video’s on this! Also the 6th season “cities” of the BBC’s Planet Earth II series spends time covering this phenomena.


Photo from the Watershed Council Petoskey

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