Pale Catfish » Yonderverse Codex

Pale Catfish

Pale catfish are a small catfish species endemic to the Sour Lake. They are heavily fished and captive-bred in the surrounding regions due to their fast reproductive cycle and speedy growth.

Anatomy

Pale catfish have the typical anatomy of a catfish species. Pale catfish have longer scales than the average catfish, which are harvested and used in clothing and fashion. They reach lengths of about two feet in males, and 1.4 feet in females. Pale catfish have a dull cream colouration, hence the name. From above water these fish appear a ghostly white, which has conspired folklore ever since slimes first encountered the species.

Pale Catfish by Mochi

Adult pale catfish grow between ten and twenty long barbels, split into the upper and lower barbels. The upper barbels are both shorter and firmer, while the lower barbels trail behind the catfish, reaching up to a foot in length.

Diet

There are few predatory fish species capable of overpowering prey larger than themselves, but pale catfish are one of them. Their stocky builds aid them in ramming into prey. They bury themselves in the sands and muds of the lakebed, darting out at prey that swims by.

They take small chunks out of their prey one bite at a time, conserving their energy by slowly circling the corpse. It can take days to consume the entirety of the food item.

Reproduction & Growth

Pale catfish are devoted parents. Females lay between a hundred and a hundred and fifty small eggs, nurtured by both parents. While the females are tending to the eggs, the males will gather long kelp and seaweed, weaving them together to create a tightly-sealed nest. The eggs incubate with the mother and father's aid for about 16 days.

These fish are very defensive and territorial over their eggs. Captive populations have had this behaviour forcibly bred out of them over countless generations, as the eggs are extracted immediately after having been laid. They are hatched in separate tanks where their growth is carefully managed, encouraged with overfeeding.

Habitat

A deep-lake fish, pale catfish rarely swim to the surface. During the daytime they swim around 100 metres below sea level, far below where they can be seen by slimes. During the night-time they will rise to the surface, and during this time they are fished.

These catfish prefer to swim amongst thick reeds and seaweeds, as it helps hide them from predators. Their bright colouration does the opposite however, and because of this the fish swim incredibly fast when needed.

Behaviour

Pale catfish are typically quite docile. When caught on a fishing line they rarely struggle, instead submitting and allowing themselves to be reeled in. Animal behaviourists theorise that over time the catfish learnt that they cannot win in a fishing battle against a slime, so it saves more energy to do nothing. When presented with the opportunity however, the catfish will attempt to break free. After the hook is taken out of their jaws, the catfish are quite likely to attempt to wriggle out, and that is quite easy if the slippery slimes aren't wearing gloves.

These fish tend to be quite aggressive with conspecific. They form life-partners quite early in their life cycle, and if another pale catfish approaches one's mate then they will battle until one retreats, or until the death if neither surrender.

Lifespan
5 - 12 years
Conservation Status
Near Threatened
Average Length
1.4 - 2 feet (0.4 - 0.6 metres)
Geographic Distribution

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Cover image: Osao Header by Mochi

Comments

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Oct 21, 2023 21:47 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love catfish and I love these ones! <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Oct 22, 2023 12:36 by Mochi

Thank you! I've added art now too :D

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