The AMERICAN CATFISH
Fish family cats-soms. Length 45 cm, weight up to 2 kg (in these reservoirs Belarusian 30-33 cm and 500-700 g). Body moderately elongate, slightly laterally compressed, devoid of scales. Wide large head (about one quarter of body length), has 4 pairs of antennae (2 pairs on the upper and lower jaws). Dorsal fin small, with rigid non-branching beam in the form of spines and 6-7 branched rays. Behind the dorsal is quite large adipose fin. In the anal fin 2 solid non-branching ray-spines, usually serrated in the back, and 17-20 branched. In breast 1 and 7-9, respectively; in ventral – 1 not branched and 6-8 branched rays. Lateral line incomplete, less, begins on head and extends to the middle of the anal fin. From soma characterized by the presence of adipose fin, a longer dorsal and short anal fin, the presence of 4-th pair of antennae.
The birthplace of catfish are fresh water in North America from the Great lakes to Florida. As a result of artificial settlement appeared in the rivers of the Pacific coast of North America, and in 1885 was brought to Europe. The first data about the American catfish in the territory of Western Belarus and Ukraine belong to 1935 To 1948 in the scientific press appeared information about it is available in the following lakes: Oltursa,Orekhovsky, Lou stark (the basin of malority – tributary Mukhavets), a Small, Unnamed and Karasynskoho (pool of Pripyat) of the Brest region. The study of the question of how the catfish got into them, has revealed some curious circumstances. As it turned out, according to local residents, he was introduced to one of the ponds of country estates “just because”, for interest, well they caught on. From the pond he found his way in the surrounding and more distant waters.
The body color of the catfish can vary greatly depending on the conditions of habitat from yellow to yellowish brown and even black. The belly are pale, whitish, sometimes spotted. There are also some very black specimens, rarely white (albino).
Catfish inhabits in lakes, ponds, large rivers and small tributaries in areas with a muddy bottom. Fish is very hardy and able to withstand high water temperatures and low oxygen contents. In Belarus the lifestyles of catfish has not been studied. The greatest activity he shows in the summer months, but with the onset of the first frost gets into deep holes for the winter, which opens after opening of reservoirs.
In our waters, the catfish reaches sexual maturity at the age of 4 years (the maximum age of his life 8 years). During spawning, which takes place in the lakes in late may and early June at water temperatures of 17-20 °C, catfish paired off. Spawning females have a lump sum, has been accompanied marriage games. Before spawning, the male suits or fits in the soil ready is a recess in which the female lays eggs and the male after fertilization remains in the nest and actively guards the eggs and fry until the disappearance of her yolk SAC. If the plug hole is approaching some kind of not very big fish, the male immediately takes the position of threat — their spreads have spines in the fins and lunges at intruder. Subsequently the fry for a long time swims a flock accompanied by a male. So the care of posterity compensates for the low fecundity of catfish, which is nowhere more than 1.2 to 3.5 thousand eggs. Caviar he has large, 3-4 mm in diameter, incubated for about 5 days.
Catfish feeds mainly on benthic organisms (chironomid larvae and dragonflies, water donkeys, caddisfly larvae, small shellfish), eggs and fry of fishes. This makes it a serious competitor in the gene abori food for commercial fish, particularly bream. In addition, the catfish destroys great numbers of eggs and fry of other fish. The usual time for feeding the catfish in the evening and night, during the spawning season and in winter he does not eat.
The American catfish is a good sport fish of lovsta, especially for beginners. When fishing you should note that catfish hear well the sounds passing from the air into the water (strikes the bell). Catfish bite good, swallow the bait immediately and very deeply, which makes it very difficult to extract the hook. When fishing, you should be careful, as the wound, which can be obtained, UCO lawsis solid rays of his fins heal poorly.
Fresh catfish meat is pretty greasy, tasty and nutritious, but after some period of storage and processing becomes tough and loses flavor.
Currently, the American catfish lives only in some water basins. From its settlement in other bodies of water should be avoided, because, with a high degree of adaptability to environmental conditions, he is able to quickly colonize the waters and become a serious competitor and even an enemy to a valuable species of commercial fish fauna.