Catfish report

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by Ohio_River_Rat, May 6, 2006.

  1. Ohio_River_Rat

    Ohio_River_Rat New Member

    Charlestown, Indiana
    A few months ago i posted some about catfish senses and said i had to write a paper on it for my english class. I think some people mentioned that i should post it after i finish well im almost done except for some revising so i thought i should share it. Its a fairly extensive paper so im only going to post the part about a catfishes sences cause i think the majority of us know all about the species

    When one looks at a catfish, its hard to guess that they are built to find prey. Their sense of taste is over 10 times more acute than that of a largemouth bass. Catfish are basically swimming tongues. Every square millimeter of skin contains 25 taste buds (Wikipedia 1). “A catfish just 6 inches long has more than a quartet-million taste buds on its body (Sutton).” The mouth and gill rakers are equally covered. A catfish is capable of tasting object from 20 feet away (Larson 46).
    Caprio, a neurophysiologist, has been studying what catfish taste and smell since 1971. Caprio understands catfish senses more than anyone else. “The catfish’s sense of smell is equally keen,” says Caprio. “Catfish can smell some compounds at one part to 10 billion parts of water (Sutton).” A catfish’s nostrils have a very high concentration of olfactory receptors. Channel cats have more than 140 of these receptors. Rainbow trout have a only 18, and largemouth bass have a measly 13 (Wikipedia 1).
    The hearing of a catfish is amazingly advanced and complex. Some may think that because they have no external ears, they cannot hear. That is false. A catfish’s body is the same density as the water it swims in, so it doesn’t need external ears. The sound waves that are moving through the water pass right through a catfish as well. When those sound waves pass through, they hit the swim bladder and it vibrates. That vibrating is amplified by the swim bladder and travel to small bones called otoliths in the inner ear.
    The otoliths vibrate, and as they vibrate they bend little hair-like projections on the cells beneath them. Nerves in these cells carry the sound message to the brain. “This is analogous to the way a human’s eardrum and inner ear bones work and elevates the fish’s upper threshold of hearing to 13 times that of a bass (Larson 46).” Fish with out bone connections like bass and trout can only detect sounds from about 20 to 1,000 cycles per second. The hearing of a catfish, however, can hear frequencies up to about 13,000 cycles per second (Sutton).
    A series of pores sensitive to water displacement, the lateral line picks up frequencies below the channel cat’s hearing range. This includes the slightest movements of prey, predators, and even bankside anglers. Differences in the sonic pattern on either side of the fish indicate the direction from which the signal came. Scientist believe that the channel cat’s lateral line is much keener than those of other game fish (Larson 46).
    Catfish have an excellent sense of touch and sight as well. A channel catfish’s eyesight is so keen it is used in many medical centers for research in vision. Because of this keen sense of sight, catfish will strike in clear water at fishing lures that look like prey without using any other sense. As mentioned catfish have no scales. This heightens the catfish’s sense of touch. Their smooth skin is very sensitive and the feel of fishing line or something else out of place will spook the catfish (Sutton).
    The most extraordinary sense in the catfish’s arsenal is a sense called electroreception. Unlike humans, catfish do not need to see prey or smell it or taste it to know its there. There are tiny clusters of special cells on the head and the lateral line can detect the slight electrical fields in all living organisms. The fish uses this sense to find and root up insect larvae and other invertebrates from the mud. The electroreception in a catfish is the same in a shark (Larson 46).
    The fact that a catfish’s senses are so acute means that many things can alert a catfish. If a catfish tastes or smells certain compounds in the water or especially on your bait, feeding may stop. “These compounds include: gasoline, sunscreen, tobacco, insect repellent and other items used by fisherman (Sutton).” This means that cat fisherman should avoid contact with the bait if these substances are on their hands.
  2. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Bedford, Kentucky
    Zac, very good post. I think the staff should put this one in the library or member fishing articles. It is one of the most informative articles that I have seen on the BOC. Good Job. Vern