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Catfish, big and small

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©AP via AAP/Suthep Kritsanavarinbear-size-catfish
 Record-holder grizzly bear-size catfish caught in Thailand – 293 kilograms (646 lb)

This impressively large specimen of the Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) was netted by a team of fishermen in 2005. It took them more than an hour to haul it in, on the Thai side of the Mekong River, across the water from Laos. Nearly 2.7 m (9 ft) long, it weighed 293 kg (646 lb).1

World Wildlife Fund conservation science fellow Zeb Hogan said, “It’s amazing to think that giants like this still swim in some of the world’s rivers. We believe this catfish is the current record-holder—an astonishing find. I have heard of three-metre-plus [ten-foot] catfish in Bulgaria … but up until now we have not been able to confirm these reports.”

One wonders what else might be hiding large-as-life in the rivers, swamps and jungles of the area—perhaps even dinosaurs, given the reports of such creatures in similar parts of the world. The greater Mekong region is renowned for biological surprises. Many new species, including large mammals previously unknown to science, have been discovered there in recent decades. And some creatures which, like dinosaurs, were thought to be extinct for millions of supposed evolutionary years, have turned up alive, including on local menus.2

Matthew Jones/123RFaquarium-catfish
 The home aquarium catfish, Corydoras spp. (Cory catfish)

But back to catfish: The variation in size among these is extraordinary—one of the greatest ranges within a single order of bony fish (order Siluriformes). The Mekong Giant dwarfs the diminutive cory catfish (Corydoras spp.) at only 8 cm (3 in) or so—ideal for the home aquarium (inset). Some catfish species reach sexual maturity at just 1 cm (0.4 in).

This variety has nothing to do with evolution. Rather, it reflects the variability built into the original created catfish kind (Genesis 1:21). ‘Species’, a modern construct, does not equate to the biblical ‘kind’; in many cases, the ‘kind’ corresponds to the man-made category of ‘family’, but in catfish it is probably the whole ‘order’. Catfish can become different species of catfish, but never another kind of creature. Observed variation in living things is always within limits, as can be seen in all the various other kinds of creatures similarly created to reproduce “after their kind”.3

References and notes

  1. Owen, J., Grizzly bear-size catfish caught in Thailand, news.nationalgeographic.com, 29 June 2005. Return to text.
  2. Catchpoole, D., More Mekong ‘hidden animals’ found, Creation 32(4):38–39, 2010, creation.com/mekong-hidden-animals. Return to text.
  3. Common examples are horses and people; see creation.com/horse-variation and creation.com/tallest-man. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

John P.
A nice meal! The variety in God's creation is always amazing and reflective of His glory.

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