NOAA logo

Great Lakes Sea Grant Extention Office at GLERL Header

Logo and Link to the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network (GLSGN) Logo and Link to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory Home Page

Great Lakes Water Life Photo Gallery

Fish

Bullhead Catfishes

  

Family: Ictaluridae - Bullhead Catfishes

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Family Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Family Profile - Fishes of New York State

Distribution and Habitat

N = Native, I = Introduced (exotic), X = Extinct, P = Extirpated

Image/Link Scientific Name Common Name Lake Superior Lake Michigan

Lake Huron

Lake Erie Lake Ontario Habitat
white catfish Ameiurus catus white catfish       I   river/littoral
black bullhead Ameiurus melas black bullhead N N N N N stream/creek/river/littoral
yellow bullhead Ameiurus natalis yellow bullhead   N N N N river/littoral
brown bullhead Ameiurus nebulosus brown bullhead N N N N N stream/creek/river/littoral
channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus channel catfish   N N N N river/littoral
stonecat Noturus flavus stonecat N N N N N stream/creek/river
tadpole madtom Noturus gyrinus tadpole madtom   N N N N stream/creek/river/littoral
margined madtom Noturus insignis margined madtom         I stream/creek/river, tributaries only
brindled madtom Noturus miurus brindled madtom       N N stream/creek/littoral
northern madtom Noturus stigmosus northern madtom       N   stream/creek/river, tributaries only
flathead catfish Pylodictis olivaris flathead catfish   N   N   river/littoral

Table modified from "The Life of the Lakes: A Guide to the Great Lakes Fishery" MI Sea Grant Extension, Michigan State University.

return to the top

Species Profiles

Ameiurus catus - white catfish

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Stocked in Lake Erie.

White catfish drawing

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.US Fish and Wildlife Service

white catfish  (photo credit Bob Jenkins and Noel Burkhead)

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.The Virtual Aquarium at Virginia Tech

 

Ameiurus melas (aka Ictalurus) - black bullhead

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fish of Indiana
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fishes of Minnesota
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fishes of New York State

Bird icon indicates a link to a non-GLERL NOAA siteScientific Profile - Fishes of Wisconsin
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Black bullheads have black or gray barbels, yellow bullhead has white. Found in shallow and often silty water - high tolerance for turbidity and low oxygen. This bottom dweller is considered a scavenger (eats dead things) and an opportunist (eats whatever comes its way). Both young and adult black bullhead eat insects (all stages), clams, snails, waterfleas and other small-crustaceans, crayfish, leeches, and even plant material. Adults eat small fish, including other bullheads, but fish are really a small part of their diet. Length to 50cm. The state record in Minnesota is 6 kg (3 lb, 13 oz).

black bullhead drawing

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fish of Indiana

young of year black bullhead

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fishes of Minnesota

Other drawings/artwork:
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.US Fish and Wildlife Service
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fishes of New York State

Other photos:
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.The Virtual Aquarium at Virginia Tech
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fishes of Minnesota

return to the top

Ameiurus natalis (aka Ictalurus) - yellow bullhead

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fish of Indiana
Bird icon indicates a link to a non-GLERL NOAA siteScientific Profile - Fishes of Wisconsin
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Black bullheads have black or gray barbels, yellow bullhead has white. More common than other bullheads in clean, vegetated waters. Eat fish, aquatic invertebrates, crayfish, larvae, crustaceans.

Yellow bullhead drawing

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.US Fish and Wildlife Service

yellow bullhead photo

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fish of Indiana

Other photos:
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.The Virtual Aquarium at Virginia Tech
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fishes of Minnesota

 

Ameiurus nebulosus (aka Ictalurus) - brown bullhead

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Interactive Fishtank - Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fish of Indiana
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Identifying Michigan Sport Fish - MI DNR
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Great Lakes Field Guide - A Superior Adventure - Bell Museum
Bird icon indicates a link to a non-GLERL NOAA siteScientific Profile - Fishes of Wisconsin
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Commonly in weedy, deeper waters. Eat crayfish and aquatic invertebrates.

brown bullhead drawing

GLERL Waterlife Photo Gallery

brown bullhead photo

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fishes of Minnesota

Other drawings/artwork:
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.GLFC Fishtank
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.US Fish and Wildlife Service
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fish of Indiana

Other photos:
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.The Virtual Aquarium at Virginia Tech

 

Ictalurus punctatus - channel catfish

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Interactive Fishtank - Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fish of Indiana
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Identifying Michigan Sport Fish - MI DNR
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fishes of Minnesota
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Great Lakes Field Guide - A Superior Adventure - Bell Museum
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fishes of New York State
Bird icon indicates a link to a non-GLERL NOAA siteScientific Profile - Fishes of Wisconsin
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Found in bays, boat channels, harbors and along rocky shorelines. Prefer deep water with clean gravel or boulder substrates, and low to moderate current. Channel catfish feed most actively from sundown to midnight near and on the bottom. They consume a huge variety of foods, including aquatic insect larvae, crayfish, clams, green algae, water plants, worms, and many kinds of small fish. Weight may exceed 40 lbs in our waters. Length to 60 cm. The Minnesota's state record for this fish is 17.3 kg (38 lbs, 0 oz).

channel catfish drawing

GLERL Waterlife Photo Gallery

channel catfish photo

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fishes of Minnesota

Other drawings/artwork:
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.US Fish and Wildlife Service
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.GLFC Fishtank
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fish of Indiana
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fishes of New York State

Other photos:
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site. Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.The Virtual Aquarium at Virginia Tech

 

Noturus flavus - stonecat

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fishes of New York State
Bird icon indicates a link to a non-GLERL NOAA siteScientific Profile - Fishes of Wisconsin
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.
Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Eat small fish, aquatic invertebrates.

Stonecat artwork
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fishes of New York State

stonecat photo

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.>Fishes of Minnesota

Additional Photos:
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.The Virtual Aquarium at Virginia Tech

return to the top

Noturus gyrinus - tadpole madtom

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fishes of Minnesota
Bird icon indicates a link to a non-GLERL NOAA siteScientific Profile - Fishes of Wisconsin
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Characteristically in weedy habitats with moderate to sluggish current and muddy bottom. This private, bottom-dwelling fish feeds mostly at night when it comes out of its daytime hiding places. It eats mostly aquatic insect larvae, waterfleas and other small crustaceans, and worms. Occasionally it consumes snails, fish eggs, and smaller fish as well as algae and other aquatic plants. Length to 12cm.

tadpole madtom photo

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fishes of Minnesota

tadpole madtom (photo credit Bob Jenkins and Noel Burkhead)

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.The Virtual Aquarium at Virginia Tech

 

Noturus insignis - margined madtom

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database

GLANSIS

Invading Lake Ontario from the mid-Atlantic, probable introduction via bait-transfer.

1 of 3 margined madtom photos in the UM collection

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Additional Photos:

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.The Virtual Aquarium at Virginia Tech

 

Noturus miurus - brindled madtom

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Generally in riffles of faster waters but sometimes in quiet weedy places and sand-clay habitats; rare on muddy bottoms.

1 of 4 brindled madtom photos in the UM collection

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

 

Noturus stigmosus - northern madtom

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Endangered in MI.

1 of 3 northern madtom photos in the UM collection

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

 

Pylodictis olivaris - flathead catfish

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fish of Indiana
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Profile - Fishes of Minnesota
Bird icon indicates a link to a non-GLERL NOAA siteScientific Profile - Fishes of Wisconsin
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Scientific Profile - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

A large river form; young commonly under stones on riffles. Flathead catfish are mainly a "lie-in-wait" predator. They rest on the bottom by large rocks, logs, or other debris, often with their mouths open. When other fish swim near, they grab them with their huge mouths. They will eat any fish that makes the mistake of getting too close. Young flatheads eat a variety of aquatic insects, crayfish, small fish, and worms, but they soon move on to eating fish. Unlike bullhead and channel catfish, flatheads rarely eat dead or decaying animal matter. Length to 1m; weight in excess of 50 lbs in our waters. The Minnesota hook and line record is 31.8-kg (70 lbs).

flathead catfish drawing

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fish of Indiana

flathead catfish drawing

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.US Fish and Wildlife Service

flathead catfish photoyoung of year flathead catfish

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA site.Fishes of Minnesota


Bird iconIndicates a link to a non-GLERL NOAA website.
Globe iconIndicates a link to a non-NOAA website or content not generated by NOAA. NOAA is not responsible for the accuracy of content. Please check Privacy and Use Policies of the destination site.
USE NOTICE

return to the top


  
 
 
   
Sitemap | GLERL/Sea Grant Home | Great Lakes Water Life Photo Gallery | Fish Photo Gallery | Great Lakes Sea Grant Network
NOAA | DOC | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Accessibility Statement |

contact:
Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, Sea Grant Lakes Network
2205 Commonwealth Blvd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2945
Phone: 734-741-2287
Fax: 734-741-2055