Catfish lives 8 months without water in Saudi deserts

In the video, a man stands in a Saudi desert holding a alive catfish. The fish seems to hibernate in the desert in the summer season.

Catfish or Silver Fish

Dr. Ali Al-Sheikhi, the current CEO of Fisheries Sector Development, said it is a ‘catfish.’ Such a fish is known as a ‘silver fish’ or ‘qarmut fish’. It has 4 joints, its front head has an antenna-like structure, and a face similar to a cat’s.

It has false lungs

The main feature of the catfish is that they have false lungs, which enables them to live without water and on dry surfaces for about 8 hours. They are found in the lakes that are north of the equator.

Can live without water for 8 months

However, they are vulnerable in the summer and dry seasons. They can absorb moisture and lock it up in their silver shells. Thus enabling them to live without water for about 8 months.

Thus, they are Fish, yet their bodies function like reptiles that can live in both water and on land. Their hibernation period is the time they seek shelter in water.

Dr. Ali Al-Sheikhi also briefed that the fish come to the land for food once the rain is over.  It uses its tentacles to do so. This is why such fish is found in the deserts of Wadi al-Ramah.

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Harithi, a National Center for Wildlife Development marine ecologist, claims such a fish is a common sight in Asia, Europe, and South America. However, it has only been witnessed in Saudi Arabia at Wadi Hanifa and Wadi Al-Ramma.

He also said that fish has been introduced in Saudi Arabia for Fish farming. Many years from now, these fish were also introduced in the Wadi al-Rama. You can see them at the farms in the Qasim area. During floods, they move and get displaced.

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