I have a very strange piece of a fish in my collection. It was a necklace pendant and I bought it by an indigene market stand. I was fascinated by this tiny piece, because I thought it was from a sawfish. Ha, far wrong! I know now how a sawfish looks like, but from what fish was my pendant then? Read the conclusion under the cut, you will be surprised!
Let’s have a closer look to the little hooks - they look like tiny teeth. So I though it must be a barb of a stingray. But I still wasn’t sure, because the little teeth are irregular and the whole thing wasn’t straight like stingray barbs usually tend to be.
I was at my wits’ end so I started to ask at various museums. One of them didn’t know it either, another one didn’t write me back and the third museum told me that it was a stingray barb. But I didn’t believe it…
If you want a job done, do it by yourself! I surfed a long time through the endless vasts of the internet and finally I got my answer! My undefinable fish fragment is a fin spine of a catfish! Who was thinking about a catfish at all?
Catfish belong to the bony fish and a lot of them have dorsal fin and pectoral fin spines. These fishes need the spines for protecting themselves against predators. Next to these spines are venom glands, which will cause a burning sensation so it’s very painful – ouch! Some fishermen know what I’m talking about. If you manage to get a catfish spine into your hand or foot you won’t pull it out so easily, because of the irregular hooks. It’s better to go to the hospital.
I don't know if such a spine will grow back once it's lost.
PS: Other fishes can have fin spines as well, carps for example.