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Old Jun 24, 2008, 5:37 PM   #11
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squirl033 wrote:
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thanks, guys!

penolta wrote:
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perhaps the fin spines would stick in its craw if it swallowed it tail first? What do they do with a catfish?
they always reposition their fish to swallow head first... they go down easier that way! :G as you mentioned, the spines in some fishes dorsal fins could stick in the heron's craw,
Rocky, what you say is certainly true for the way all fish-eating birds would swallow a "normal" fish. What I was referring to is that catfishes are a rather special case, even being hardeven for afisherman to handlewithout getting spined. Ever try to get a thrashing catfish off a hook? I haven't handled one in a while, but as I recall, they have rather large, stiff, and verysharp spinessupporting thepectoral finsin addition tothe big one in front of the dorsal - and they may be able to lock the dorsal spine in the erect postition, as well as the pectorals. Such an arrangemnentmakes them a rather sticky prospect to swallow - certainly for other fish approaching from the rear (like trying to swallow a sword and having the knuckle guard hang up in the mouth!), which is probably why they have them that way -- as a defense against predation. This is why I can envision a heron doing something to make a catfish easier to swallow -- I think I recall that some predators bite the spinesoff before eating the fish, but I don't know what a heron would do other than beating it against the ground. Those spines could do some serious damage inside the bird's crop, especially it the fish were still alive and thrashing about! :whack:
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