Invasive behaviour of European catfish (Silurus glanis), the freshwater apex predator

Dr Lukáš Vejřík1, Ms. Ivana Vejříková1

1Biology Centre Of Czech Academy Of Sciences, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic


Apex predators play a key role in ecosystem stability across environments but their numbers in general are decreasing. By contrast, European catfish (Silurus glanis), the European freshwater apex predator, is on the increase mainly due to the popularity among anglers. Thus, the non-native area of occurrence has appeared also outside Europe (new localities in Asia, Africa and South America). European catfish is an apex predator with extremely wide niche width. Not only fish, but also waterfowls, aquatic invertebrates and small mammals were found in the diet. Catfish, similar to other large-bodied apex predators, has two typical features: enormous generalism and adaptability to new prey sources. Therefore, the acclimatization is mostly easy and the impact of predation on native species can be fatal in the new localities. It is practically impossible to extirpate its population because catfish prefers large aquatic ecosystems with high connectivity. However, method of long-lines seems to be a promising way of reduction of catfish population to a harmless level.


Lukas Vejrik finished PhD studies in 2018 at the University in South Bohemia Ecology. He continues as a post-doc researcher on the Institute of Hidrobiology, Biology Centre of Czech Academy of Sciences. He focuses on fish community in lakes and water reservoirs, specialized in biology of predatory fish, mainly European catfish, the apex predator of European freshwater ecosystems.

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