We Need Some of These Suckers in New York City
Posted by Richard Conniff on December 6, 2012
O.k., I know that introduced species are a recipe for disaster. Pigeons in New York City, for instance. But this is just so sweet. A catfish from Europe that thinks it’s a freshwater killer whale, and leaps out of the water to seize its feathery prey. Let’s go to the video, showing behavior filmed on the Tarn River in Southwestern France:
Here’s the background:
A new study published in PLoS One has revealed that the Wels catfish (Silurus glanis) is successful at hunting birds on the shore. The research found the catfish was able to catch a pigeon 28% of the time, out of 45 observed beaching behaviors.
The researchers say, “Since this extreme behavior has not been reported in the native range of the species, our results suggest that some individuals in introduced predator populations may adapt their behavior to forage on novel prey in new environments, leading to behavioral and trophic specialization to actively cross the water-land interface.”
Back to the idea of how great these would be in Manhattan, here’s a photo of one Wels catfish, fat, ugly, and with what looks like a cigar in his mouth, just the thing for fitting in on Wall Street.
Source: Cucherousset J, Boulêtreau S, Azémar F, Compin A, Guillaume M, et al. (2012) “Freshwater Killer Whales”: Beaching Behavior of an Alien Fish to Hunt Land Birds. PLoS ONE 7(12): e50840. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050840