Catfish may be borrowing more than just the name of their feline counterparts.
A group of European catfish in France’s Tarn River have developed a taste for pigeon—and the skills to hunt them. Briefly stranding themselves on the shore of a small gravel island in the river, the catfish, the largest freshwater fish in Europe, lie in wait for an unsuspecting bird to wander too close to the water’s edge. Then they lunge and grab their feathered prey before heading off to deeper waters to dine.
Scientists are not sure why this fishy phenomenon is taking place. One possible answer is a reduction in normal catfish fare because of the overpopulation of this non-indigenous finned invader. But the pigeons have one thing going for them: the catfish really need to improve their hunting skills. Researchers observing these squab-gobbers note that they are only successful about half the time.