Question: What are the whiskers on the side of a catfish’s mouth called? – 2017

What are the whiskers on the side of a catfish’s mouth called?

– barbells
– whiskers
– mouth straws
– tasters


49.8% – correct

The average human has about 10,000 taste buds covering the tongue, but the catfish typically has more than 100,000 taste buds. In fact, large catfish can have upward of 175,000. These tiny taste buds are all over the catfish’s body, with the most concentrated on the four pairs of barbells, or whiskers, found around its mouth. These barbells act as antennae with taste buds, allowing the catfish to taste when a meal is nearby. Source:

A barbel on a fish is a slender, whiskerlike sensory organ near the mouth. Fish that have barbels include the catfish, the carp, the goatfish, hagfish, sturgeon, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and some species of shark such as the sawshark. Barbels house the taste buds of such fish and are used to search for food in murky water. Barbels are often erroneously referred to as barbs, which are found in bird feathers for flight. Barbels may be located in a variety of locations on the head of a fish. “Maxillary barbels” refers to barbels on either side of the mouth. Barbels may also be nasal, extending from the nostrils. Also, barbels are often mandibular or mental, being located on the chin.

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