It’s a bit past the holidays, but I wanted to share the Christmas present I received. A plush catfish! Look at how endearing it is. There are too few catfish toys. This is a blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus), the largest species of north American catfish, which reached sizes of up to 165 cm (65 in) can weigh more than 68 kg (150 lb). The blue catfish does not just make a captivating plush toy, its success in the competitive real world also illustrates why the siluriformes are such formidable lifeforms.
Although blue catfish can eat almost anything, they are highly competent and aggressive predators (look at its predatory lines). They are capable of living in fresh fast water or in torpid brackish water and they possess all the myriad astonishing senses of the catfish in order to master their river home. This is a problem in the real world. The fish was originally native to the Mississippi river and most of its tributaries, but, aided by the fell hand of man, the blue catfish was introduced into the rivers and estuaries of Virginia where it has swiftly displaced native life. Because of its ability to survive brackish water, the mighty catfish of the Mississippi has been taking over parts of the Chesapeake Bay. Hopefully it wasn’t a mistake to bring one into the house.