irst of all, this is not a fish
for the home aquarium as they can grow too big
with reports of between
100 and 23 kg (100 and 50 pounds) in
weight and a metre (39ins) in length
"Blue Catfish" is similar to the "Channel
Cat", Ictalurus punctatus, and the
"White Catfish" Ictalurus
catus, but there are a few differences notably
in the shape of the anal fin which
is longer and a straighter edge than the other two
species mentioned with 30-35 rays (I.catus
18-24, I.punctatus 24-30). It also has a
different shaped mouth with the upper jaw being longer
than the lower. There is also a hump in the head just
in front of the dorsal fin.
water of impoundments and main channels and backwaters
of medium to large rivers, over mud, sand and gravel.
Prefers clear, strongly flowing water. This is treated
in North America as a favourite food fish and it is
said that its flesh is well flavoured.
furcatus - showing straight edged adipose
punctatus - showing rounded adipose
There are now
moves afoot by the U.K. Government through the Ministry
of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAAF) to impose
restrictions on some coldwater species like the above
mentioned Blue Catfish, due to the dangers of introduction
to native waters and the threat to its occupants through
disease and predation.
As of November 1998 in the U. K. you must have a licence
to keep the above species. This licence is now issued
free, but does take a few months to process. For more
information log on to the DEFRA
site. Due to the size attained
by this species it is doubtful that they will ever
be imported into the U. K.
Catfish, Blue Channel Catfish
furcatus, Ictalurus meridionalis
rivers of the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio basins,
south to Mexico and northern Guatemala. Type
locality: Mississippi River near St. Louis.
93cm. S.L. (3ft 8ins)
Anal fin; 1/30-35; Caudal fin
deeply forked, upper jaw being longer than the lower.
Hump in head just in front of the dorsal fin. Small
eye situated equidistant between the top and bottom
Body bluish to grey above
grading to white on sides and belly. Fins light
coloured, often with dusky outer margins.
Care & Compatibility
Best to be kept on its own,
or in a very large tank with other large catfish that
can take care of themselves. Housing with large Cichlids
is another possibility. Can get too large for an aquarium
when adult so best kept when juvenile.
place in late spring or early summer and the nests
are constructed under rocks or caves with the parents
guarding the young.
Feeds primarily on fish, crayfish,
aquatic insects, fingernail clams, and freshwater
The fin forward from the anal cavity. Caudal Fin:
The tail. Dorsal Fin:
The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body.
Ichthys = fish; ailouros = cat. furcatus: Forked = alluding
to the tail'.
W. Henry and Buchanan M. Thomas; Fishes of
Arkansas. The University of Arkansas Press. 536p. Smith W. Philip; The Fishes of Illinois;
University of Illinois Press 2002. 314p. The Audubon Society.
Field guide to North American Fishes, Whales &
Dolphins. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 848 p.