I decided to include this additional tidbit regarding the catfish. Hopefully you'll find this useful for your novels or general knowledge.
Here's a list of the various kinds of catfish and some descriptions about them.
The Common Catfish
The Brown Catfish
Description. Head flattened, with a granular surface above; its length compared to the total length, is as one to four and a half. The upper jaw slightly the longest. Lateral line slightly concave under the dorsal fin, and then straight. Breadth of the head slightly less than its length. Eyes small, two-tenths of an inch in diameter, and far apart. Nostrils double; the posterior pair half an inch apart, patent, oval, with an erectile cirrus on their anterior margins ; the anterior pair subtubular, and near the edge of the jaws. A long cirrus, stout and fleshy at its base, at each angle of the jaws, and an inch and a half long. A pair of slender cirri 0-6 long, on the summit of the head; four others under the lower jaw, arranged in a curved line an inch in extent; the internal pair shortest, and all slender. Humeral bone with a blunt spine over the pectoral, and a short obtuse angular projection beneath. Mouth very ample and dilatable. A band of small recurved teeth in each jaw, broadest in the centre, and diminishing to a point on the sides. Vomer and palatines smooth. Two rounded patches of minute recurved teeth in the upper pharyngeals; opposite to them, a few scattering minute teeth.
The dorsal fin commences half an inch posterior to a point vertical to the origin of the peetorals, subquadrate, and a little more than an inch high. Its first ray is a robust spine, slightly serrated on its posterior margin, and much shorter than the remaining rays. Adipose fin rounded, and opposite the termination of the anal fin. Pectorals placed low down, and in advance of the posterior angle of the opercle; its spine stout and pointed, with its anterior and posterior margins serrated, and its upper and under surfaces corrugated: the spine is shorter than the four following rays. Ventrals somewhat pointed, and originate at a point three-tenths of an inch behind the end of the first dorsal. Anal fin with seventeen rays, an inch and a half long, and six-tenths of an inch high. Caudal fin slightly but distinctly emarginate ; the accessory rays indistinct. Vent with a double orifice.
Color. A uniform dusky brown above, approaching to black ; beneath bluish white. Fins and cirri black ; the former tinged with red.
The Black Catfish
Characteristics. Black. Adipose dorsal long and slender; the rays of the fins passing beyond the membrane. Caudal emarginate, ro'und, with numerous accessory rays. Length four to eight inches.
Description. Surface smooth and sealeless. Lateral line distinct, nearly straight, slightly convex under the dorsal fin. Head depressed, sloping. The barbels, in number and arrangement, resemble those of the preceding species. Lips fleshy, with minute punctures. Teeth in the jaws minute, long, conical and crowded. Tongue smooth. Humeral bone with a long concealed spine above the pectoral, and a short blunt rudimentary process directed downward at the upper angle of the branchial aperture.
The dorsal fin higher than long, arising midway between the pectorals and ventrals; the first ray an acute triangular spine ; its anterior surfaces marked with oblique rugze or wrinkles ; its anterior edge smooth; a small accessory bone at its anterior base; six soft rays, the first and second longest. The adipose dorsal as far from the last rays of the first dorsal, as the anterior ray of that fin is from the end of the snout; long and slender, rounded, and laciniate at the tips. The pectoral fins nearly on the plane of the abdomen, and anterior to the upper angle of the branchial aperture, containing one spinous and seven branched rays: the spinous ray robust, triangular, slightly curved, with its anterior edge roughened, and its sides channelled as in the spine of the first dorsal; a small filamentous ray is connected with it, its posterior edges with decurved spines; the second, third and fourth rays somewhat longer than the spines. Ventrals small and feeble, pointed, their tips scarcely reaching the third anal ray; the third and fourth rays longest. Anal fin long; the first four successively longer, when they become subequal to the last four or five rays, when they gradually diminish in length. Caudal slightly emarginate, rounded at the tips.
Color. Deep black, occasionally blackish brown above and on the sides ; ashen grey beneath.
The Blue Catfish of Ohio and the Lakes.
The Yellow Catfish
The Channel Catfish
The Mud Catfish, recognized by the scarified and clouded appearance of its skin.
The small Black Bullhead of the northern streams and lakes.
Young Catfish, with the rudiments of an adipose fin.
Source: Reptiles & Amphibia ©1842
Bull-head. Black Catfish. Horned Pout. Small Catfish. Schuylkill Cat,
Adipose fin free posteriorly; head flat, wedge shaped; skin thick; branchiostegals, eight to eleven; dorsal fin higher than long, with six branched rays; lateral line incomplete; caudal fin truncate; color varies from nearly black to yellowish; anal fin about twenty-one rays. Length, 18 inches.
"This fine species is not frequently met with, and only in the rivers, where occasionally specimens are captured, associated with the following common species."
Long-jawed Cat. Common Catfish.
Lower jaw projects beyond the upper; head longer than broad and narrowed in front; profile steep and convex; color dark reddish or blackish; size of foregoing.
This is the most abundant species of the catfish found in the State. It is a lover of quiet waters, with a deep deposit of mud on the bottom of the stream. It would not be a misnomer to designate it as the ' mud ' catfish. They afford moderate sport to the angler, and, except in July and August, are a fair article of food. They are less abundant in the smaller creeks of the northern part of the State."
A. natalis, Le S., var. cupreus, Jord. (Silurus lividus, Raf.-, &c.) Yellow Cat. Chubby Cat.
Body stout, with large head; upper jaw projecting; color yellowish brown. This may possibly occur in the valley of the Delaware, but it is difficult to distinguish species so variable.
White Catfish. Channel Cat of the Potomac.
Body slender, compressed; head conical; branchiostegals eight to nine; six rays in dorsal fin; caudal deeply forked; mouth rather narrow, upper jaw longer; rays of anal fin about twentyone; pale olive bluish above and silvery below. Length, I8 inches.
Source: New Jersey State Documents ©1890
We do not now appreciate our several varieties of catfish. But coming generations will do so. The- fish is valuable for food. Some of the smaller varieties, living in running waters, being as delicate as any of our native fish. As is known to all our people, the catfish is extremely hardy and thrives in all our waters. To propagate him, it is only necessary to put the proper variety in waters suited to him, and then give such waters reasonable protection. The Mississippi river and its tributaries is the home of the catfish. The largest catfish of which I have authentic information, weighed 196 pounds, and was caught in the Mississippi, near St. Louis. My authority is M. B. Curtis, the oldest fish dealer of St. Louis. The largest catfish which came under my personal observation was caught in the Mississippi river, near St. Louis, in 1879, and was presented to Professor Spencer F. Baird, for the National Museum, by the Missouri Fish Commission. It weighed 150 pounds, and, when examined, proved to be an undescribed species. It has been named by Professors Jordan and Gilbert, lctal-ur'us pondero-sus—Bean—Great catfish. They think this variety of catfish attains a larger size than any other.
There are small varieties which never exceed two pounds in weight, and probably much less. The Missourian who visits the magnificent Fairmount Park of Philadelphia, is amused to read the signs on the little resturants by the roadside, “catfish and waffles," showing the dish to be a delicacy in the estimation of the inhabitants of the Quaker City. Catfish spawn in spring and summer. The eggs are deposited in lumps or masses, varying in size from a small marble to a hen’s egg. The spawn and young fry are carefully guarded by the parent fish until able to care for themselves. From experiments made by Col. Marshall McDonald, Assistant U. S. Fish Commissioner, at '1 Commissioner for Virginia, he concludes that the male acts as guar. . This care by the parent, and the formidable spines, or stickers, with which the catfish is armed. account for his ability to hold his own in our depleted waters. It is a veritable eXemplification of the “survival of the fittest.”
Source: Appendix to the House and Senate Journals ©1885