Posts Tagged 'catfish'

Happy National Catfish Day!

Today is National Catfish Day! 

Did you know the National Aquarium is home to 34 species of catfish? We have catfish of all shapes and sizes – here are just a few of our largest and smallest:

In celebration of this great day, here are some fascinating catfish facts: 

  • These aren’t felines who have developed gills – Catfish are actually named for their barbels, which resemble a cat’s whiskers.
  • Catfish are nocturnal creatures.
  • Species of catfish can be found on every continent expect Antarctica.
  • Catfish are bottom feeders. Most species use their sucker mouths as little vacuums, grabbing up morsels of food! Watch our whiptail catfish  vacuuming up some treats in our Amazon River Forest exhibit.
  • Catfish have no scales!
  • A new species of suckermouth catfish was just discovered in 2012!
  • Catfish have one of the largest ranges of size of any species of bony fish – with the smallest species measuring in at only about 1 centimeter and the largest species at 8.2 feet.
  • The striped eel catfish is the only species of catfish that lives in coral reefs. They’re also one of the 1,600 species of venomous catfish.

Got a question about catfish? Ask us in the comments section! 

Sustainable Seafood Q&A with the Rusty Scupper’s Mark Miranda

In honor of our upcoming sustainable seafood Fresh Thoughts dinner in Baltimore, we sat down with featured chef, Mark Miranda of the Rusty Scupper, to get the scoop on how the sustainable dining movement is influencing the dining scene in Baltimore. 

Mark Miranda

Mark Miranda

A chef for more than 30 years, Markl Miranda has served the Rusty Scupper’s renowned Maryland crab cakes and seafood to some of the Monument City’s most monumental appetites. In doing so, Miranda has also shared his passion for preserving the ecology and economy of our community by upholding his restaurant’s commitment to serving only the best quality, sustainable seafood. 

National Aquarium: What’s your favorite sustainable seafood ingredient to cook? 

Mark Miranda: My favorite sustainable seafood to cook with is the Stripped Bass, better known as Rockfish. Rockfish is a local favorite that is very versatile.  It can be prepared in a variety of ways.  The Rockfish population is thriving, not only in our area but also throughout the world.

NA: How is sustainable seafood playing a role in Baltimore’s dining scene?

MM:  As people become more aware and knowledgeable about sustainable seafood, they are paying more attention to restaurants and establishments that use sustainable seafood ingredients.  Customers want to be sure they are supporting environmentally friendly practices so many are choosing restaurants that offer dishes prepared with sustainable seafood. Using sustainable seafood not only helps to build our business, it also allows us to give back to the environment.

NA: What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to cooking sustainably? 

MM: There really are no challenges in cooking with sustainable seafood.  However, if you say you are using sustainable seafood, you must be sure the items are sustainable and stick to using them.  Sometimes products can be misleading, so you must pay close attention to the sources of the ingredients to make sure the product is truly sustainable.

NA: In 2013, what is one sustainable seafood ingredient you hope to see more of in restaurants (including your own)? 

MM: I really enjoy preparing dishes that incorporate the Basa fish.  It is similar to the catfish and growing in popularity.  The Basa fish can be prepared in a variety of ways—from grilling and sautéing to frying and blackened.  When choosing to prepare Basa, it is important that you look for the fish to be U.S. farm-raised as it is farmed in a more ecologically responsible manner than those imported from Asia.

Click here to learn more about our Fresh Thoughts sustainable seafood dining series in both Washington, DC and Baltimore.

Animal Update – November 2

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

animal update

Margined Madtoms

We have two margined madtom catfish Noturus insignis in our Maryland: Mountains to the Sea exhibit. These fish were transferred from their home at National Aquarium, Washington DC to their new home here in Baltimore!

This species of catfish is commonly found in rocky riffles and small rivers throughout the Atlantic slope, from southern Quebec to Georgia.

While this species is more common in the United States, it is considered threatened in Canada.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

What is so delicious on the bottom of a pond?

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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