Silurus glanis_1This is a large fish – up to 5 m long and 300 kg of weight – inhabiting rivers and lakes of Europe east of the Rhine. In the north its areal reaches South Finland, and Asia Minor, the Caspian and AralSeas with tributaries in the south. It is absent from the Siberian rivers. It is relatively rare in the Pskov-PeipsiLake. The coloration is variable, usually olive green, and almost black in the back, with white belly, and irregular spots on the sides. Sheatfish have a tiny barely visible dorsal fin, no fatty fin, and a very long anal fin. The upper jaw holds two long barbs, and the lower one – four shorter barbs. The vast jaws of this fish tell a predator in it. Indeed, the Sheatfish is a voracious vulture, preying on small fish, frogs and big clams. There are cases of Sheatfish attacking waterfowls and dogs crossing streams. And still, its voracity is greatly overstated. Usually, it keeps to deep spots, under snags or in dam trenches.

Females lay fairly large eggs (up to 3 mm) into a primitive nest of aquatic plants 40-50 cm deep, as soon as water is 18-20°С warm. Before they hatch, males guard the nests. Sheatfish grow pretty fast and mature 2-3 years old and 44-60 cm long. In rivers and lakes of the Russian south, sheatfish is of considerable commercial value. It is not due merely to their fat and tender flesh. Their floats yield excellent glue. And well-washed sheatfish skin was used to pane windows in the old days.

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