Tasting what you touch Imagine having taste buds on the tips of your fingers. That might not be very desirable for people, but for fish living in the murky Hudson, tasting what you touch has its advantages. Fish like sturgeon, carp, and catfish have sensory organs near their mouths called barbels that can touch and taste. A catfish’s “whiskers” are actually barbels and do not sting. Instead, they can feel and taste objects in the river to identify a potential meal. In the murky Hudson, sometimes it’s easier to feel your meal than it is to see it.