Most country folks have a fondness for the catfish. Catfish are a little on the ugly side, but what they lack in looks they make up in taste! Really! To top it off, they have a talent I never knew about!
Catfish Have About 100,000 Taste Buds
Humans have somewhere between 2,000 and 8,000 taste buds, all concentrated on the little lump of flesh wiggling around your mouth. Catfish, on the other hand, have closer to 100,000 individual taste buds—all over their bodies. In a sense, a catfish is just a big swimming tongue. Each taste bud is about 50 nanometers (50 billionths of a meter, or 164 billionths of a foot) wide, and the bigger the fish is, the more taste buds it has. Larger fish can have more than 175,000 taste buds dotted across their body.
Why would an animal—especially one that lives in the mud at the bottom of murky ponds—need such a strong sense of taste? They use it to hunt. Visibility becomes more limited the deeper you go, so for a bottom dweller like the catfish, sight isn’t always helpful. With their taste buds, catfish can “taste” prey meters away, like a wolf catching a scent. And with so many buds all over their body, they can essentially triangulate the prey’s location based on how strongly the taste hits certain body parts. Most of the taste buds are clustered around the fore region of the catfish so it can home in on the prey once it’s angled in the right direction.
Catfish still use their eyes, but researchers have found that the taste buds are more important for hunting than sight. Take away a catfish’s eyes and it will still find food. Take away its taste buds, however, and it’s essentially blind.
I guess that with that many taste buds, the fish can smell a decent bait from a long way off. That, my friends, is a good thing...for the fisherman!
Another good day for coffee out on the patio. Going back up to the high 80's today!