Killer Catfish!

Catfish, jumping out of the water to eat pigeons.

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2 Responses to Killer Catfish!

  1. senpai71 says:

    I knew pigeons were dumb, but seriously…

  2. Sharon says:

    It’s a new predator behavior, for both the catfish and for the pigeons. Unless the pigeons have lived in areas with, say, alligators, they’ve probably never experienced an ambush predator *coming out of the water*. The pigeons haven’t needed to pay any attention to the water before, and in fact probably viewed it as a safe quarter since a land-based predator pouncing out of the brush could be evaded by flying out over the water.

    I wonder how long the catfish have been doing that kind of hunting. Do they learn from watching each other? When do they start hunting across the interface, and if it’s before they reach the size where pigeons are feasible prey, what are they hunting?

    I’ve seen catfish in a stocked pond do brief, partial beaches while gulping down food pellets that were floating right at the edge of the water. They also actively hunted the ducklings of waterfowl that made the mistake of trying to swim across their pond. It wouldn’t take much to envision them grabbing a duckling at the pondside, and at that point pigeons are abstractable as a bigger duckling that’s not going to come out very far into the water, so the catfish has to go closer in.

    Here’s a link to the original published paper: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0050840

    Now we get to see if the surviving pigeons will learn to look for dangers in the water. The predator adapted, now will the prey?

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