Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes
(Catfishes) > Ictaluridae
(North American freshwater catfishes)
Etymology: Ictalurus: Greek, ichtys = fish + Greek, ailouros = cat (Ref. 45335); furcatus: Ictalurus (Greek) for fish cat; furcatus (Latin) meaning forked (referring to the tail fin) (Ref. 79012) More on author: Valenciennes.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; brackish; demersal; depth range 50 - m (Ref. 5723), usually - m (Ref. ). Subtropical; 0°C - ; 44°N - 25°N, 108°W - 80°W (Ref. 86798)
North America: USA (Mississippi River basin from western Pennsylvania to southern South Dakota and Platte River in southwestern Nebraska, south to Gulf; Gulf Slope from Escambia River drainage (where introduced), Alabama and Florida, to Rio Grande drainage in Texas and New Mexico; and Mexico. Introduced in Atlantic Slope drainages, western states, and Minnesota.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 165 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 86798); max. published weight: 68.0 kg (Ref. 9988); max. reported age: 21 years (Ref. 12193)
Inhabits deep water of impoundments and main channels and backwaters of medium to large rivers, over mud, sand and gravel (Ref. 5723, 86798). Stays on the bottom during the day in deep areas and moves into swifter water at night to feed (Ref. 117513). Feeds on small aquatic invertebrates, clams and fishes (Ref. 93252). Prefers clear, strongly flowing water. Deposits eggs in nests under under logs, brush, or riverbank (Ref. 117513). Males build nest often in pools or backwaters (Ref. 117513). Marketed fresh and frozen. Eaten steamed, fried, broiled, microwaved and baked (Ref. 9988).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 2011. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 663p. (Ref. 86798)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 124695)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5010 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00525 (0.00303 - 0.00910), b=3.12 (2.96 - 3.28), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.4 ±0.44 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (tmax=21).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (83 of 100) .
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 44.9 [21.6, 86.1] mg/100g ; Iron = 1.08 [0.64, 1.73] mg/100g ; Protein = 16.5 [14.8, 18.4] % ; Omega3 = 0.589 [0.266, 1.267] g/100g ; Selenium = 47.1 [20.7, 97.4] μg/100g ; VitaminA = 8.87 [2.79, 28.42] μg/100g ; Zinc = 0.736 [0.474, 1.119] mg/100g (wet weight);