Catfish are a diverse group of fish. They are named for their prominent barbels, which are slender, whisker-like tactile organs near the mouth, which give the image of cat-like whiskers.

Unlike most fish, catfish do not have scales. They usually have an adipose fin (fleshy, rayless posterior fin), and often spine-like rays (spines) present at the front of the dorsal and pectoral fins. The dorsal fin of most catfish species technically has two spines, the first one very short. The catfish body may be naked or covered with bony plates. Normally, there are up to four pairs of whisker like barbels on the head, with two on the chin, one nasal, and one maxillary.

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