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Wels catfish

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The wels catfish (pronounced /’w?ls/ or /’v?ls/[1]) is a scaleless fresh and brackish water catfish recognizable by its broad, flat head and wide mouth. The mouth contains lines of numerous small teeth, two long barbels on the upper jaw and four shorter barbels on the lower jaw. It has a long anal fin that extends to the caudal fin, and a small sharp dorsal fin positioned relatively far forward. It uses its sharp pectoral fins to capture prey. With these fins, it creates an eddy to disorient its victim, which it then simply engulfs in its enormous throat. It has very slippery green-brown skin. Its belly is pale yellow or white. Wels catfish can live for at least thirty years and have very good hearing.

The wels catfish lives on annelid worms, gastropods, insects, crustaceans, and fish; the larger ones also eat frogs, mice, rats and aquatic birds such as ducks.

The wels catfish lives in large, warm lakes and deep, slow-flowing rivers. It prefers to remain in sheltered locations such as holes in the riverbed, sunken trees, etc. It consumes its food in the open water or on the bottom, where it can be recognized by its large mouth. Wels catfish are kept in fish ponds as food fish and they are also kept as pets.

The wels catfish is found in wide areas of central, southern, and eastern Europe, and near the Baltic and Caspian Seas.

Colour varies with environment : clear water will give the fish a black coloration while muddy water will often tend to produce brownish specimens. Weight and length are not correlated linearly, and also depends on the season.

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