Sunday, April 20, 2008

Monster Catfish Attacked Dogs

 Monster Catfish pics pictures images photos galleryThe catfish had terrorized the German town for years and when a dozen dogs fell victim for the beast, fishermen in the area started a fish hunt for the giant catfish. But it eluded them all. Now the catfish has been found dead and dog owners are happy. German biologists, who for a long time has studied the European catfish, Siluris glanis, reveals that it has more secrets that we ever dreamt of. Among other things it can breath air if there is an extreme drought and even crawl over dry land!

After a dozen dogs had vanished and at least one of them, the Dach hound Roff, had been seen swimming in the lake and suddenly drawn down into the depth, the catfish was named "Jaws" by German media (which alluded to Steven Spielbergs breakthrough with a film dealing with a man-eating shark).

The only thing that the heartbroken owner found of his Dach hound Roff was tufts of hair and the dogs collar.

Fishermen from all over Germany was flocking at the little lake in the park in the hope of catching "Jaws", but the catfish eluded but amateurs and professionals. Now the "monster catfish" has been found dead, washed up on a desolated beach where it was found by the runner Werner Gruber.

Lead poisoning

Gruber has got the authorities permission to stuff the giant catfish and to a local newspaper he commented: "Jaws could have died of lead poisoning because many fishermen lost their tacle in the lake, but it could also have died of old age".

The catfish is an extremely large and varied fishs in the order of Siluriformes. That order includes 31 families and 400 genus with about 2,200 species, according to German researchers, who are considered among the best fish biologists in the world.

Catfish environment includes everything from cold mountain streams to stillwater in the low lands to smaller dams and even polluted, oxygen deficient meres.

Extreme drought

Because the catfish are equipped with a specially constructed breating organ, certain species can survive temporarily without water during extreme drought, and move shorter distances over land in their search for a suitable lake to live in.

Certain species can also breathe oxygen, which is absorbed in the blood through thin capillaries which covers the inner walls of the intestines.

Other species, like Pangasius sutchi for instance, uses its swim bladder as an oxygen supply. Still others is equipped with carefully prepared "air chambers" which transports the oxygen to the lungs.

Extreme differencies

The catfish also shows extreme differencies in size. The world record for a catfish is fantastic 20 feet and a weight of 830 pound. The worlds smallest catfish on the other hand, Corydoras pygmaeus, is only one inch long.

A catfish is usually recognized by its barbels un the lower jaw. These looks very much like the whiskers on a cat and thats actually how it got its name - catfish.

The catfish are naked because it lacks scales and instead it has a thick, leathery skin or bone plates. It can reach the ripe old age of 80 years.

Feature: Jan Sundberg, GUST © 2003.