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Catfish catfish: structure and reproduction

The indigenous inhabitant of fresh water bodies of North America, the canal catfish appeared in the Russian borders in the seventies of the last century. This representative of the family of iktalur is the most extracted from numerous commercial species of catfish that inhabit the North American continent, in our country the southern regions, as well as specialized ponds, formed at the thermal power station became the fish habitats. About this structure, habits and features of life this publication will tell.

Places of natural habitat

Occurring mainly in subtropical latitudes, the American canal catfish is extremely thermophilic and excellently feels in water bodies with a water temperature of 25-28 ° C. Apparently, these features contributed to the settlement of warm freshwater lakes, which are enough in the central regions of America and northern Mexico. Like other types of catfish, the canal catfish reaches a very impressive size, but it clearly does not reach the giants like the common catfish or the river catfish . The average size of the channel soms is no more than one and a half meters in length and 5-9 kg in weight. But this fish is well cultivated in conditions of artificial ponds and pools.

Canal catfish: breeding in artificial reservoirs

Americans nicknamed him catfish cat for simplicity in "domestication" and high adaptive qualities to conditions of captivity. Catfish catfish grow very fast, its meat is highly valued, it is delicious, tender and healthy. The industrial breeding of this fish, which is now the main target of fish farms, has long been very efficiently engaged in the United States. Fish is especially popular with American anglers, as this aquaculture is spread throughout the country, growing rapidly and increasing body weight.

Introduced in the 70's to Europe, the catfish channel successfully took root in the basins of the Kuban and Don rivers , where today there is a steady growth of the population. Breed catfish and in temperate latitudes - in the ponds of fish farms in the Moscow region and the Ural region, located in close proximity to hydroelectric power stations and combined heat and power plants, incidentally heated water in the reservoirs. Warm waters provide the fish year-round comfortable development.

Pond growing

When breeding this species use one of three ways: in aquariums, garden-pools or ponds. Pond breeding is most often used as the simplest and most economical method, which does not require the purchase of expensive equipment, and labor costs are minimal. Choosing the site for the construction of the pond, take into account the features:

  • Topography of the area;
  • Quality and composition of soils;
  • Volume and quality of water.

Optimal for such a pond is considered to be a depth of 0.9-2 m from the south and 1.8-3.5 m from the north, where in the harsh winters the freezing of shallow water is possible. Fish in the water in the spring, when the water has already warmed to 13-15 ° C. At this time, the loss of fry is noticeably less than in the fall of the young. In addition, the "spring" fry immediately begin to grow intensively. Despite the fact that the main feed in these conditions are artificial feeds, some amount of catfish feed is obtained from the natural fodder base of the pond.

Species Features

The canal falcon is very similar in appearance to burbot. The color of the fish is uneven, spotty. The back is painted brownish-black or pistachio-gray in tone, the belly is light, almost white, there is no scales, the body is bare. Males differ markedly from females. Their color is darker and therefore more pronounced, and the head is shorter and wider. Adult females are fuller than males. In older, older fish, the body color is also noticeably darker. Because of the spotted sides of the catfish, it was called "channel", which means "motley" in translation. In the aquarium breeding there are soma-albinos. The head of the canal catfish is decorated with four pairs of antennae located in pairs near the nostrils, at the corners of the mouth and on the chin. The fish is equipped with sharp spiny fins. It should be remembered about the poisonousness of the thoracic and dorsal fins of fish. When you contact her, do not forget about caution.

In the bulk of the catfish grow to 0.5-0.7 m, reaching a mass of 4.5 to 9 kg, acclimatized - and even less. For example, in the Don and Kuban catfish catfish is not more than 5 kg. But history knows som-record-holders: there is a case when a catfish catfish was caught in South Carolina, the weight of which was 26 kg.


The canal catfish is a rapidly growing predatory species. Young soms live in mobile schools, but with age their way of life changes: they become single, adjusting to live on the "stake out" territory. These fish can be very aggressive, which is especially evident during spawning. For the channel catfish, shelters are needed - various snags, burrows, depressions. Preferred clean and deep places with a sandy or pebbly bottom, the catfish leads a solitary lifestyle, showing enviable activity in hunting.

What feeds on the canal catfish?

Catfish diet is traditional: small fishes, crustaceans and invertebrates. Less often food for it is a variety of water insects or small mammals. It is believed that the canal catfish is practically omnivorous, it is characterized by bottom feeding.

Spawning: preparation

The most important event in the life of any inhabitant of the reservoir is spawning. Do not make an exception and the catfish channel, a photo of which is presented in the publication. In nature, the catfish spawns from mid-April to July. He seeks and finds calm rivers and small quiet lakes. Water, optimal for spawning, should be heated to 20-25 ° C. Like many animals, aggressive fights organized by males precede spawning. Often such fights end in injuries, injuries or even the death of weaker rivals.

As soon as the couple has developed and the water in the pond has warmed to the required temperature, the male chooses a secluded place, usually under the shore, and starts building a nest with a thorough cleansing of the bottom of the silt and various debris.

Care of laying

The female lays 2-3 layers of caviar in the prepared nest, each of which immediately fertilizes the male, spending on the entire process from 4 to 12 hours. Masonry is an elastic formation, visually similar to a sponge and consisting of bright orange round eggs, densely connected to each other. At the end of spawning, the male, as an exemplary father, starts guarding eggs, and removes the female. To the process, he takes it very seriously and not only protects the precious masonry, but from time to time shakes it with fins, creating access to fresh water for caviar. Caviar develops over a period of 120-122 hours. Before hatching, the eggs get dark and they can see the hulking, baleen embryos, behind which the male still closely watches. He no longer shook the caviar, but carefully waved it with his fins. When the eggs are transformed into embryos, their mobility is still very small, and they remain in the nest, forming dense changing clusters. Embryos in these clouds-clusters are located head to the center, and the tails are in constant motion. Nature is wise, and such placement allows embryos to create internal vortex flows of water, washing out the products of vital activity and dead eggs. With age, they become more active, but still keep close to the nest. After 2-3 days the larvae are already able to swim to the surface of the water. In this case, the swimming bubble of larvae is first filled with air, and the pigmentation of the body increases, and the larvae acquire a gray shade.

Larvae of the catfish begin to eat plankton on the fourth day, and after a few more days they are already actively eating zoobenthos, forcemeat from sea fish, combined fodder. Males of the channel catfish grow very intensively, quickly gaining weight.


The hero of this publication is very interesting for sport fishing, because a true professional can only attract such a strong opponent as the channel catfish. Fishing planet - fishing tournaments, popular in America and held there annually, have not yet become a tradition in Russia. Domestic fishers today are still unfamiliar with this water inhabitant, since the distribution area of the heat-loving catfish is very limited. Nevertheless, the good adaptive abilities of fish, the rapid growth in artificial conditions and the excellent taste of meat attract both entrepreneurs who organize pond breeding of catfish and anglers already taking an active part in competitions in sport fishing.

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