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The Walking Catfish and its effects on the Florida Ecosystem

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Blaise Starr

on 19 May 2014

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Transcript of The Walking Catfish and its effects on the Florida Ecosystem

The Invasive Walking Catfish
Scientific name is Clarias batrachus
They are an invasive species of fish from Southern Asia
They are an established species in Florida
Walking Catfish can grow to 24 inches but rarely exceed 14 in Florida
The fish cannot actually walk, instead they wriggle around on the ground to get to other food/water.
They are omnivores and will eat almost anything
Walking Catfish live in shallow, stagant pools of water that would kill other fish.
These fish were kept as pets in the '60s (owning them without a license is illegal now).
It is believed that the fish got into the environment though escapes, releases and a tank transporting them being accidentally dumped into a canal.
The fish that were brought to Florida were mainly from Thailand.
Walking Catfish were brought to Florida to be pets and as a food source.
To have prevented the spread of walking catfish people could have been more careful with them and also made more of an effort to catch them in the beginning.
The fish are very numerous in some areas of southern Florida to the point that there are 3000 pounds per acre in some places. The population has also spread across a large range.
Why has this species done so well in Florida's ecosystem?
Southern Florida has thousands of miles of canals that served walking catfish highways.
The fish were able to get to non connected bodies of water due to their walking abilities.
They can also live in bodies of water that native species can't.
Finally; walking catfish take care of their young, ensuring higher survival rates.
What is a walking catfish?
Environmental Effects
Walking Catfish eat eggs and babies of other fish species.
They also eat tadpoles, their walking ability allowing them to reach isolated populations.
They sometimes carry the disease enteric septicemia. This can affect farmed catfish.
Beyond that walking catfish have been known to get into fish farms and eat the stock.
Dealing with the population
Walking Catfish have not spread into North Florida because they cannot handle cold tempatures. It is also thought that they are absorbing into the population, as their numbers have leveled out.

However, it is important that the species not make it to other tropical places such as Hawaii.

In an attempt to prevent its spread the us and other countries have blacklisted the species and made it illegal to own one without a permit.
What we can do to prevent further invasions from non-native invaders in Florida?
The best way is to prevent them from getting in at all.
This can be done by more tightly regulating the exotic pet trade,
By taking more precautions to prevent accidental introduction,
And not introducing a species to an enviroment without knowing the consequences of doing so.
Mission Debriefing
What did I learn during my investigation?
I learned all the information about walking catfish in the report. I also learned about my mom's childhood, as she had walking catfish living near her when she was growing up.

If I wanted to learn more, how could I locate more information?
The websites on my bibliography are good informative sources of information and you could also try to find other books.
What did I learn about myself while creating this presentation?
I learned that I find walking catfish to be interesting and that have sympathy toward animals.
Gray, Susan. Animal Invaders: Walking Catfish. Ann Arbor Michagan: Cherry Lake Publishing, 2009. Print.
"Clarias batrachus." Clarias batrachus. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2014. <http://www.sms.si.edu/irlspec/Clarias_bat
"Walking Catfish - Invasion Biology Introduced Species Summary Project - Columbia University." Walking Catfish - Invasion Biology Introduced Species Summary Project - Columbia University. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2014. <http://www.columbia.edu/itc/cerc/danoff-burg/invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/Clarius_b
"Nonnative Fish - Walking Catfish." Nonnative Fish - Walking Catfish. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2014. <http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/fish/freshwater/nonnatives/walking-catfish/>.
Day 1: I recived the assignment and decided to do brown anoles.
Day 2: I began to do research on Brown Anoles.
Day 3: I didn't work on it.
Day 4: I started a powerpoint on brown anoles.
Day 5: My mom suggested doing walking catfish instead and after some reaserch I changed my mind.
I did most of a prezi on walking catfish.
Day 6: I finshed up my prezi.
Full transcript