The Fish with Whiskers

Catfish is the common name given to any fish in the order Siluriformes and are one of the most widely diverse and abundantly distributed species on the planet, occurring on every continent except Antarctica. Most of them live in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds with the exception of a few saltwater species. They are easily recognizable by their barbels on the upper jaw and, sometimes, snout and chin, which look like the whiskers of a cat, giving them their name.

In addition to these “whiskers” most catfish have spines in front of their dorsal fins, some with venom, so be cautiois when diving with, and handling them. They are also unique amongst most fish as they do not have scales, making them feel slimy to the touch. They come in all sizes from the monstrous wels, a large European species that can grow up to 4.5 meters (15 feet) in length, to the dwarf micro cat which can be as small as 4-5 centimeters long. They are important as a food source, often times farmed, are desirable in the aquarium trade, and are fun to see while diving. If you want to go diving with catfish, explore the map below for dive sites where their sightings are common.