What is so delicious on the bottom of a pond?

Published May 07, 2008

A catfish has 250,000 taste buds covering its body.

Catfish and taste: Imagine a big swimming tongue; in a way, that’s what a catfish is. The smooth scaleless skin of this fish is completely covered with taste buds – 250,000 cover a 6-inch-long catfish. (Humans, by contrast, have only 10,000!)

Most fish that have taste buds have only a few located in or near the mouth, but a catfish has dense concentrations of them in its mouth, as well as on its fins, back, belly, sides, and tail. Those covering the body detect chemicals to help locate food, even in dark, muddy water. The highest concentrations on the outside of the body are on its long, tapered whiskers, or barbels, which it uses as feelers to cautiously sample food before eating.

 

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