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The animal on the cover of VB.NET Language in a Nutshell, Second Edition, is a catfish. Catfish can be found all over the world, most often in freshwater environments. Catfish are identified by their whiskers, called “barbels,” as well by as their scaleless skin; fleshy, rayless posterior fins; and sharp, defensive spines in the dorsal and shoulder fins. Catfish have complex bones and sensitive hearing. They are omnivorous feeders and skilled scavengers. A marine catfish can taste with any part of its body.
Though most madtom species of catfish are no more than 5 inches in length, some Danube catfish (called wels or sheatfish) reach lengths of up to 13 feet and weights of 400 pounds. Wels catfish (found mostly in the U.K.) are dark, flat, and black in color with white bellies. They breed in the springtime in shallow areas near rivers and lakes. The females hatch eggs in their mouths and leave them on plants for the males to guard. Two to three weeks later, the eggs hatch into tadpole-like fish, which grow quickly in size. The largest recorded wels catfish was 16 feet long and weighed 675 pounds.
Catherine Morris was the production editor and proofreader for VB.NET Language in a Nutshell, Second Edition. Ann Schirmer assisted with ...