Classification / Names
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes
(Catfish) > Ictaluridae
(North American freshwater catfishes)
Etymology: Ameiurus: Greek, a = without + Greek, meiouros, -os, -on = without tail (Ref. 45335); nebulosus: nebulosus meaning clouded, in relation to mottled and grey coloring (Ref. 1998).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; brackish; demersal; depth range ? - 40 m (Ref. 1998). Temperate; 0°C - 37°C (Ref. 35682); 54°N - 25°N
North America: Atlantic and Gulf Slope drainages from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada to Mobile Bay in Alabama in USA, and St. Lawrence-Great Lakes, Hudson Bay and Mississippi River basins from Quebec west to Saskatchewan in Canada and south to Louisiana, USA. Introduced into several countries. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction. Asia: Iran and Turkey (Ref. 39702).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 55.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); common length : 25.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 556); max. published weight: 2.7 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 9 years (Ref. 59043)
Occurs in pools and sluggish runs over soft substrates in creeks and small to large rivers. Also found in impoundments, lakes, and ponds. Rarely enters brackish waters (Ref. 1998). A nocturnal feeder that feeds mollusks, insects, leeches, crayfish and plankton, worms, algae, plant material, fishes and has been reported to feed on eggs of least cisco, herring and lake trout (Ref. 1998). Juveniles (3-6 cm) feed mostly on chironomid larvae, cladocerans, ostracods, amphipods, bugs and mayflies (Ref. 1998). Can tolerate high carbon dioxide and low oxygen concentrations and temperatures up to 31.6 °C although experiments show upper lethal temp. to be 37.5 °C; resistant to domestic and industrial pollution (Ref. 1998). Has been observed to bury itself in mud to escape adverse environmental conditions (Ref. 1998). Prepared hot-smoked and also cooked in various ways (Ref. 1998).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Nests are built by one or both sexes. After a period of caressing each other with their barbels, male and female settle over the nest, face opposite directions (while maintaining body contact) and spawn. Although eggs are cared for by one or both parents, there have been reports of parents eating their own eggs. Caring entails fanning by the paired fins, moving and stirring by the barbels, and may be picked up and ejected from the mouth; this ensures hatching.
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. 115185)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5078 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00933 (0.00573 - 0.01519), b=3.07 (2.93 - 3.21), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.7 ±0.1 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.47; tm=3; tmax=8).
Prior r = 1.01, 2 SD range = 0.75 - 1.36, log(r) = 0.01, SD log(r) = 0.15, Based on: 1 K, 2 tgen, 1 tmax, records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (30 of 100) .