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Today is June 25

6 facts about watermelons

Watermelons provide cooling, juicy refreshment during the warm days of summer. But while they’re most associated with summer, watermelons can typically be found in grocery stores year-round. Watermelons are members of the cucurbitaceae family, which includes other gourds, such as pumpkin, squash and cucumber. Watermelons can be considered a fruit or a vegetable. In some areas of the world, watermelons are considered a fruit used primarily in snacks and desserts. In Russia, watermelon rind is pickled, while some Asian countries stir-fry or stew watermelons. To quench one’s curiosity about watermelons, the following are six facts about this beloved food, courtesy of The Watermelon Board.

1. Washing watermelons before cutting into them will help prevent the transfer of any dirt or bacteria into the fleshy center.

2. An average 15- to 20-pound watermelon offers 90 6-ounce servings.

3. Watermelons grow in warm climates and are harvested from Florida to Guatemala. Residents of the United States who want to enjoy domestically grown watermelons should look for them in June, July and August.

4. Seedless watermelons contain small, white “seeds.” These are actually seed coats that didn’t fully form. Crossing watermelons that are a diploid plant (having two sets of chromosomes) with a tetraploid plant (having four sets of chromosomes) will form a fruit with a triploid seed three sets of chromosomes). It’s the triploid that produces seedless watermelons.

5. Whole watermelons do not necessarily need to be refrigerated. But once cut, any remaining pieces should be refrigerated.

6. Watermelons are 92 percent water, and they’re the perfect carrying case for beverages. Early explorers even used watermelons as canteens.

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National Catfish Day

Celebrate the wondrous catfish

Whether enjoyed as a delicacy, fished for sport or observed in a home aquarium, catfish are fascinating underwater creatures.

With the exception of Antarctica, catfish are present on all continents and are believed to comprise 3,000 unique species. Some catfish are inclined to inhabit freshwater ecosystems and can be found residing in rivers and streams. Others are content to call saltwater home. Catfish can be mere inches long or virtual giants, with the Mekong catfish in Asia reaching nearly nine feet in length and up to 646 pounds.

According to the outdoor experience resource American Expedition, one of the more popular North American catfish is the channel catfish. It is primarily fished as game and is sometimes known as the “Fork-Tailed Cat,” “Fiddler” or “Lady Cat.” The flathead catfish is another prominent North American species, as well as the blue catfish.

Catfish are easily recognized and distinguished from other fish due to some prominent characteristics. Catfish are named for their barbels around the mouth, which resemble cat’s whiskers. Catfish also have smooth, scaleless bodies and flat heads. Catfish are typically dull in color so they can blend into their surroundings, but there are some more brightly hued varieties.

Wild catfish are bottom feeders, and many are detrivores, or species that eat dead material on the bottom of bodies of water. However, catfish may eat aquatic insects, crayfish, mollusks, crustaceans, and other fish. Farm-raised catfish bred for food can be trained to eat food pellets on the water’s surface.

Barbels and other sensory organs help catfish locate food in the dark waters they call home. They also have taste sensors all over the surface of their bodies. These taste buds detect chemicals in the water and respond to touch.

Catfish may not say “meow,” but they can produce various sounds. According to SoftSchools.com, catfish are able to produce and detect sound due to a bony structure that connects their swim bladder and auditory system. By rubbing together body parts or inducing vibration of the swim bladder, catfish can produce different noises.

Their sweet-tasting, mild flesh makes catfish an important food source around the world. In the United States, fried catfish is especially popular in the southern states, particularly Mississippi. Catfish is also popular in parts of Asia and Africa.

Catfish can survive from eight to 20 years in the wild, depending on the species. Large catfish may not have many natural predators, but large fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals, including humans, may prey on catfish for food or sport.

Catfish is a diverse aquatic animal that is known to be a particularly popular game fish and even a delicacy in certain parts of the world.