Baby Catfish Born at National Zoo

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Catfish, as seen in nature, are not the prettiest creatures. Their coloration is bland, their texture is on the slimy side and instead of a normal mouth they have this big suction cup thingy that's somewhat reminiscent of what you see on the underside of novelty plush animals that motorists stick on their car windows. Personally, I almost always prefer to see catfish like this.

Coloration: a nice, warm, earthy tone. Texture: crispy on the outside, flaky on the inside. And the only mouth I need to worry about is my own. Indeed, the catfish po' boy sandwich is pretty darn close to perfection when it comes to a catfish encounter.

That said, it is my deepest pleasure to announce that the National Zoo is welcoming a brood of baby twig catfish, which hatched on November 12. Twig catfish are—as the name implies—stick like in shape and color and are native to the Amazon. They are also masters of disguise and hide under dead leaves and stick debris, making them very difficult to spot on the fly—even scientists are unsure of this species' population in the wild.

Earlier this month, a female twig catfish at the National Zoo laid a layer of 30 to60 eggs, which were then protected by the male. Once the young (also known as "fry"—seriously, no joke) hatch, they need constant care and supervision—and a steady supply of algae so that they can grow and mature. But don't expect to see the catfish kiddies on public display–only non-breeding animals are on view to the public at a tank in Amazonia’s field station exhibit. However, you can get the general idea from the following above photo.

And no, this blogger does not have a sense of bad taste developed enough to consider turning these noble creatures into deep fried sandwich goodness. Frankly, they don't have enough body to make a good sandwich. Fish sticks on the other hand...

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