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Juvenile catfish, like most fish, have relatively large heads, eyes and posterior median fins in comparison to larger, more mature individuals.These juveniles can be readily placed in their families, particularly those with highly derived fin or body shapes; in some cases identification of the genus is possible.However, they are known to exceed 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in length and 100 kilograms (220 lb) in weight.In July 2009, a catfish weighing 88 kilograms (194 lb) was caught in the River Ebro, Spain, by an 11-year-old British schoolgirl."In catfish, gustation plays a primary role in the orientation and location of food".Because their barbels and chemoreception are more important in detecting food, the eyes on catfish are generally small.Some have a mouth that can expand to a large size and contains no incisiform teeth; catfish generally feed through suction or gulping rather than biting and cutting prey.However, some families, notably Loricariidae and Astroblepidae, have a suckermouth that allows them to fasten themselves to objects in fast-moving water.
In some catfish, the skin is covered in bony plates called scutes; some form of body armor appears in various ways within the order.
Akysidae Amblycipitidae Amphiliidae Anchariidae Ariidae Aspredinidae Astroblepidae Auchenipteridae Austroglanididae Bagridae Callichthyidae Cetopsidae Chacidae Clariidae Claroteidae Cranoglanididae Diplomystidae Doradidae Erethistidae Heptapteridae Heteropneustidae Horabagridae Ictaluridae Kryptoglanidae Lacantuniidae Loricariidae Malapteruridae Mochokidae Nematogenyiidae Pangasiidae Pimelodidae Plotosidae Pseudopimelodidae Schilbeidae Scoloplacidae Siluridae Sisoridae Trichomycteridae incertae sedis Conorhynchos – Extinct family - Andinichthyidae † Catfish (or catfishes; order Siluriformes or Nematognathi) are a diverse group of ray-finned fish.
Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the three largest species alive, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia, the wels catfish of Eurasia, and the piraíba of South America, to detritivores (species that eat dead material on the bottom), and even to a tiny parasitic species commonly called the candiru, Vandellia cirrhosa.
Thus, juvenile catfishes generally resemble and develop smoothly into their adult form without distinct juvenile specializations.
Exceptions to this are the ariid catfishes, where the young retain yolk sacs late into juvenile stages, and many pimelodids, which may have elongated barbels and fin filaments or coloration patterns.
Mythology and literature record wels catfish of astounding proportions, yet to be proven scientifically.