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Ictalurus punctatus  (Rafinesque, 1818)

Channel catfish
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Ictalurus punctatus
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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: Ictalurus: Greek, ichtys = fish + Greek, ailouros = cat (Ref. 45335);  punctatus: punctatus meaning spotted (Ref. 10294).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 6.0 - 8.0; dH range: 4 - 30; depth range 15 - ? m (Ref. 9988).   Subtropical; 10°C - 32°C (Ref. 12741); 51°N - 27°N

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 36.0  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 132 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 26550); common length : 57.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 59043); max. published weight: 26.3 kg (Ref. 4699); max. reported age: 24 years (Ref. 59043)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Usually bluish olive, gray or black on the upper part of the body, becoming white below; dark spots usually scattered along the sides; older males dark in color, the head looking very wide when seen from the top; long barbels surrounding the mouth and the tail deeply forked (Ref. 44091).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

North America: Central drainages of the United States to southern Canada and northern Mexico.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Inhabit rivers and streams and prefer clean, well oxygenated water (Ref. 9988), but also in ponds and reservoirs (Ref. 10294, 44091). Feed primarily on small fish, crustaceans (e.g. crayfish), clams and snails; also feed on aquatic insects and small mammals (Ref. 9669, 10294, 44091). Marketed fresh, smoked and frozen; eaten steamed, fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved and baked (Ref. 9988). Albino form common in the aquarium trade (Ref. 13371).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

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. 90363)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Potential pest (Ref. 13371)

Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: commercial
FAO(Aquaculture: production, species profile; fisheries: production; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

More information

Larval dynamics
Stamps, Coins
Swim. type
Gill area


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Internet sources

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5010   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00513 (0.00400 - 0.00658), b=3.12 (3.05 - 3.19), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.9   ±0.6 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.06; tmax=16).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High to very high vulnerability (72 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.