Public Works and Environmental Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administrative offices are open to the public by appointment only at this time. Please call or email 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-5500
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 449, Fairfax, Va 22035

Shannon Curtis,
Chief, Watershed Assessment Branch

Catfish - Family Ictaluridae

Much Longer Than Tall
Much Longer Than Tall
One Dorsal Fin
One Dorsal Fin
Long Whiskers
Long Whiskers

On This Page

 
BROWN BULLHEAD - Ameiurus nebulosus

BROWN BULLHEAD

Brown Bullhead - Ameiurus NeBulosus

Scientific Name: Ameiurus nebulosus
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 15 inches, rarely to 18 inches
Diet: Aquatic insects, fish and algae
Distribution sampling sites: Map

The brown bullhead is a member of the catfish family and is closely related to the yellow bullhead. The distinguishing characteristic between brown and yellow bullheads is that the brown bullhead has dark whiskers on the lower lip while the yellow bullhead has yellow whiskers on the lower lip.

 

BLUE CATFISH - Ictalurus furcatus

BLUE CATFISH

BLUE CATFISH - Ictalurus furcatus

Scientific Name: Ictalurus furcatus
Fairfax County Native: No
Size: 30 inches, rarely to 65 inches
Diet: Fish, other vertebrates, and aquatic invertebrates
Distribution sampling sites: Map

Blue catfish are opportunistic predators that will eat nearly any fish or other prey they catch or scavenge.

 

CHANNEL CATFISH - Ictalurus punctatus

CHANNEL CATFISH

CHANNEL CATFISH - Ictalurus punctatus

Scientific Name: Ictalurus punctatus
Fairfax County Native: No
Size: 28 inches, rarely to 35 inches
Diet: Aquatic invertebrates, fish and other vertebrates
Distribution sampling sites: Map

The channel catfish is a large fish that usually inhabits large rivers and lakes. Specimens collected during Fairfax County surveys were most likely fish that were pushed out of upstream lakes during high rains or fish that traveled up the streams from larger rivers like thePotomac. The Virginia state record is 31 pounds, 8 ounces.

 

FLATHEAD CATFISH - Pylodictis olivaris

FLATHEAD CATFISH

FLATHEAD CATFISH- Pylodictis olivaris

Scientific Name: Pylodictis olivaris
Fairfax County Native: No
Size: 30 inches, rarely to 60 inches
Diet: Fish, insects, and crustaceans
Distribution sampling sites: Map

Unlike other catfish, the flathead only feeds on live prey; adults are piscivorous ambush predators. “Pylodictis” means “mud fish,” and “olivaris” means “olive-colored.”

 

MARGINED MADTOM - Noturus insignis

MARGINED MADTOM

MARGINED MADTOM- Noturus insignis

Scientific Name: Noturus insignis
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 7 inches
Diet: Aquatic insects and fish
Distribution sampling sites: Map

Like all catfish, the margined madtom has hard spines in its dorsal and pectoral fins. To varying degrees, catfish in the family ictaluridae have venom in their spines with the madtoms inflicting the most painful sting. The sting from a madtom feels like a bee sting.

 

WHITE CATFISH - Ameiurus catus

WHITE CATFISH

WHITE CATFISH - Ameiurus catus

Scientific Name: Ameiurus catus
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 18 inches, rarely to 20 inches
Diet: Aquatic invertebrates, fish and plant material
Distribution sampling sites: Map

The white catfish is only found in the tidal areas of Fairfax County. This catfish can live as long as 14 years. The Virginia state record is 7 lbs 6 oz.

YELLOW BULLHEAD - Ameiurus natalis

YELLOW BULLHEAD

Yellow Bullhead - Ameiurus natalis

Scientific Name: Ameiurus natalis
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 14 inches, rarely to 18 inches
Diet: Aquatic insects and fish
Distribution sampling sites: Map

With its wide distribution in Virginia, the yellow bullhead is the most commonly caught catfish. As its name implies, the yellow bullhead has yellow whiskers below its mouth.

 


References
Jenkins, R. E., N. M. Burkhead, 1994, Freshwater Fishes of Virginia,1079 pgs., American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD

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