What is so delicious on the bottom of a pond?

Published May 07, 2008

A catfish has 250,000 taste buds covering its body.

Catfish and taste: Imagine a big swimming tongue; in a way, that’s what a catfish is. The smooth scaleless skin of this fish is completely covered with taste buds – 250,000 cover a 6-inch-long catfish. (Humans, by contrast, have only 10,000!)

Most fish that have taste buds have only a few located in or near the mouth, but a catfish has dense concentrations of them in its mouth, as well as on its fins, back, belly, sides, and tail. Those covering the body detect chemicals to help locate food, even in dark, muddy water. The highest concentrations on the outside of the body are on its long, tapered whiskers, or barbels, which it uses as feelers to cautiously sample food before eating.

 

Previous Post

Featured Stories

Jellies in petri dish Welcome to the Jelly Jungle

Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!

Read the full story

Cold stunned turtle Cold Stunning: Where, How and Why?

Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

Read the full story

Related Stories

Happy National Catfish Day!

Published June 25, 2013

Animal Update - January 11

Published January 11, 2013