It has been far too long since we dropped in on our friends the Siluriformes–the order of catfish (this makes them sound like a powerful secret society…but the catfish kind of are a powerful secret society). Today Ferrebeekeeper features an especially magnificent and crazy-looking catfish, Cnidoglanis macrocephalus, AKA “the Cobbler.” Cnidoglanis macrocephalus is the only species within its genus. It belongs to the Plotosidae family of catfish which includes ocean-going and saltwater catfish like the adorable coral reef catfish (these stripy little guys live like clownfishes, surgeonfish, and triggerfish within the tumultuous and colorful ecosystems of coral reefs). The Cobbler does live in salt water, but they do not venture out to the coral reef. Instead they live in brackish areas at the mouths of rivers and streams. The flamboyant fish—which have whiskery catfish heads annealed to eel-like tails can grow up to 90 centimetres (36 in) in length and weigh 2.5 kilograms (5.5 lbs).
Cnidoglanis macrocephalus tends to spend the day hiding in holes. Then at night the catfish comes out along the coastlines to feed on mollusks, worms, crustaceans, algae, and organic debris (the darkness helps them hide from predators and poses little challenge to the superb catfish senses). The fish can live up to 13 years, although they are preyed on by cormorants and pelicans. To protect themselves cobbler catfish have razor-sharp venomous spines in their dorsal and pectoral fins.