Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes
(Catfishes) > Ictaluridae
(North American freshwater catfishes)
Etymology: Ameiurus: Greek, a = without + Greek, meiouros, -os, -on = without tail (Ref. 45335); melas: Ameiurus (Greek) meaning privative curtailed (referring to the caudal fin lacking a notch); melas for black (Ref. 79012) More on author: Rafinesque.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; demersal; pH range: 6.5 - 8.0; dH range: 4 - 25; amphidromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 10 - m (Ref. ), usually - m (Ref. ). Temperate; 8°C - 30°C (Ref. 2059); 52°N - 26°N
North America: Great Lakes to northern Mexico. Confusion over the taxonomic status of this species together with Ameiurus nebulosus resulted in more doubts as to which of the two is present in some countries. In Europe it forms dense stunted populations which makes it unpopular. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction (Ref. 1739). In Europe, self-sustaining populations recorded from Ebro and Tagus drainages (Iberian Peninsula), most drainages of France, locally in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany; distribution could be wider (Ref. 59043)
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 66.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); common length : 26.6 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193); max. published weight: 3.6 kg (Ref. 4699); max. reported age: 10 years (Ref. 12193)
Inhabits pools, backwaters, and sluggish current over soft substrates in creeks and small to large rivers; impoundments, oxbows, and ponds. Nocturnal feeder, young consume immature insects, leeches, and crustaceans while adults also feed on clams, snails, plant material, and fishes (Ref. 1998, 9669, 10294). Edible (Ref. 1998). Are susceptible of being caught, where they are abundant, with baited lines intended for other species. Is considered a nuisance (Ref. 30578). Often misidentified as A. nebulosus (Ref. 59043).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
The female prepares the nest by clearing debris, gravel and silt found on the bottom. Before spawning, the pair engages in butting and in sliding its barbels over the body of the other. The female releases her eggs after the male wraps his caudal fin around the head of the female. The pair can spawn up to five times in an hour. In between spawning, the female fans the eggs. Both male and female guards and fans the eggs.
Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p. (Ref. 5723)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 124695)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5078 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00891 (0.00688 - 0.01155), b=3.11 (3.04 - 3.18), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.8 ±0.4 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (tmax=10; Assuming tm=3).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate to high vulnerability (50 of 100) .
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 36.2 [19.4, 67.2] mg/100g ; Iron = 0.446 [0.285, 0.677] mg/100g ; Protein = 17.1 [15.2, 18.9] % ; Omega3 = 0.747 [0.328, 1.644] g/100g ; Selenium = 23 [9, 64] μg/100g ; VitaminA = 17.6 [5.9, 54.5] μg/100g ; Zinc = 0.701 [0.503, 0.994] mg/100g (wet weight);