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Science

Catfish Strands Itself To Kill Pigeons 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the step-away-from-the-water dept.
SternisheFan writes "In Southwestern France, a group of fish have learned how to kill birds. As the River Tarn winds through the city of Albi, it contains a small gravel island where pigeons gather to clean and bathe. And patrolling the island are European catfish—1 to 1.5 meters long, and the largest freshwater fish on the continent. These particular catfish have taken to lunging out of the water, grabbing a pigeon, and then wriggling back into the water to swallow their prey. In the process, they temporarily strand themselves on land for a few seconds. Other aquatic hunters strand themselves in a similar way, including bottlenose dolphins from South Carolina, which drive small fish onto beaches, and Argentinian killer whales, which swim onto beaches to snag resting sealions. The behavior of the Tarn catfishes is so similar that Julien Cucherousset from Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse describes them as 'freshwater killer whales.'"
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Catfish Strands Itself To Kill Pigeons

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  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:05PM (#42234715) Homepage

    In the process, they temporarily strand themselves on land for a few seconds.

    Not really stranding themselves, then, eh?

    Fish eating birds though... seems wrong, somehow...

  • by v1 (525388) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:48PM (#42235583) Homepage Journal

    That video wasn't very clear. It didn't look like the catfish really "beached" itself, it was more of a lunge from the water's edge. When I hear "beached" I'm thinking mostly or completely out of the water like you see killer whales going up on shore and taking sea lions and seals off the dry beach. These birds were practically wading in the shallows.

    Also, it looked like every time they got a pigeon, it managed to get free within a few seconds and get back up on shore?

    I prefer this video, a snapper snagging a pigeon: Snapping turtle eats bird [youtube.com] Much clearer outcome. (those snappers have an insane strike speed, as well as a very unexpectedly long range)

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