Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Catfish Strands Itself To Kill Pigeons 115

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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Catfish Strands Itself To Kill Pigeons

Comments Filter:
  • by LourensV ( 856614 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:18PM (#42234819)
    I'd say this is like a cat leaping into the air to catch a bird, or an Osprey diving down into the water to catch a fish. Seems like many species happily leave their domain temporarily if there's food to be had. Still, interesting that these fish have picked up the idea (maybe it's the "cat" in their name?), and anything that gets rid of pigeons is a good thing :-).
  • by Palamos ( 1379347 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:09PM (#42235265)
    It's wrong to say that the catfish do not belong on land, they are known to cross land to move from pond to pond as they dry up and there is some evidence that they migrate, at least once in their lifetime. They usually leave ponds at night when it's more humid so it's not a well known phenomenon. Nonetheless, this is very interesting behaviour.
  • by durrr ( 1316311 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:51PM (#42235619)

    One link mentioned a 28% kill rate. While not very impressive it's a free meal every 3rd time.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @05:12PM (#42236339)

    When I see the word "strands", both in the linked story and the summary, I assume a terminal event. If the fish can get back in the water under its own power at will, it certainly does not amount to a stranding. Beached is more appropriate, but even it suggests something of an irreversible predicament.

    Neither is exactly true, since there is no mention of fish deaths. The fish have the ability to get back in the water.

    A poor choice of words to add sensationalism. Sort of akin to calling every human venture into the water a drowning.

    Further, fish going ashore for other reasons is not that rare. Many fish spawn ashore [] including the Grunion. [] Dolphins chase fish ashore [] too. Which is interesting because two species are going ashore for two different reasons, one to escape, one to eat.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!