|Geographical Range||Worldwide (except Antarctica)|
|Habitat||Rivers, streams, lakes, ponds|
|Scientific Name||Order: Siluriformes|
Catfish are a large and diverse group of fish found all over the world. Though a few types inhabit the ocean, the majority lives in freshwater. Catfish can be easily recognized by the so-called "whiskers" (barbels) that give them their name. And most can also tolerate low-oxygen water. But beyond that, the 2,000+ species vary widely in shape, size, and habits.
Some species are quite small. Others reach gigantic sizes -- more than eight feet long! Many catfish are bottom feeders, eating algae and decaying material off stream bottoms. But not all do this: some catfish are meat-eaters, others eat only plant material, and still others eat both.
Most catfish are not threatened in the wild, though there is concern about the status of more than 60 species.