Geek Trivia

Which Animal Has The Best Sense Of Taste?

In 2009, Which Company's Ill-Fated Advertising Campaign Had People Trading Facebook Friends For Coupons?

Answer: Catfish

The number of taste receptors found in species varies wildly throughout the animal kingdom. Some animals have incredibly dull senses of taste like the poor domesticated chicken, who gets by in life with a paltry 24 taste receptors in its mouth. Dogs, though lauded for their keen sense of smell, only have around 1,700 taste receptors. Humans, for comparison, have roughly 9,000-10,000 taste receptors.

The greatest “super taster” in the world, however, isn’t a skilled human but the lowly catfish. Catfish have a unique taste reception system in that not only do they have taste receptors in their mouths and clustered around the opening thereof, but their entire body is covered in them. A typical catfish has upwards of 100,000+ taste receptors all over its body which allows it to use the taste receptors like a type of radar to locate food in relationship to its mouth (some large catfish can have as many as 175,000 taste receptors).

All of this is rather ironic, really, when you consider that catfish are like aquatic garbage disposals, churning through some of the least appetizing food in some of the muddiest and murkiest waters around. It is good for the catfish that evolution has equipped it with the ability to locate food in the muck, but we, for one, certainly wouldn’t want 10 times the number of taste buds if that was our daily fare.