t is nearly two years now since I last featured any
catfish from the North American continent (Ictalurus
and having received a request for thie above species
I thought the time was right to go back to this continent
and undertake an investigation into one of the smallest
of the Madtom cats, the "Tadpole Madtom";
There is quite
an abundance of information sheets and articles on
this species on the internetbut I do not apologize
for adding to this total as we can never get enough
(factual) information on any given catfish species
as we strive to glean as much knowledge as we can
on these fascinating creatures.
The name Noturus
means "back tail" and refers to the fusion
of the adipose and caudal fins ( in some species )
which tends to give them a tadpole-like appearance.
Madtom" is one of the smallest Madtoms apart
from the rarest; Noturus
abundant in strong riffles of large creeks and rivers,
especially in areas having boulders or large flat
rocks. It is one of the most widespread species in
the genus and can be found from South West Quebec
and South East Manitoba in Canada down to Southern
Florida and Texas. It is absent in the Appalachian
You must be very
aware of the poison gland in this genus which resides
in the base of the dorsal and pectoral fins as it
can give you a very sore hand, so you will have to
be careful if catching or moving these fish.
can be found in a variation of body colorations and
body shape. Taylor (1969:48-49) believed the variation
in form is a function of nutrition during growth.
There are of
course a few aquarists here in the U.K. who are coldwater
cat enthusiasts but they are getting few and far between
due to to the import restrictions on this family of
There is now
moves afoot by the Government ( U.K.) through the
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAAF)
to impose restrictions on some coldwater species like
the above mentioned 'Stonecat', due to the dangers
of introduction to native waters and the threat to
its occupants through disease and predation. In other
words you could be paying up to £30 for a license
to keep them. In the future due to the exporters having
to implement new guidelines on matters such as health
records for each fish, they could become quite rare
in the U.K.
It is a pity as
I would have loved to have tried out the "madtoms"
as something different here in the U.K. but you can
see the problem it may cause if they are released
into our waters by uncaring "aquarists"
and the damage to our already fragile ecosystem.
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. There
has been numerous updates since 1998 so would be better
to check this out. For more information log on to
site and also to get a phone
number if needed.
Atlantic draining Rivers, below Fall line; Mississippi
River basin; rivers draining Gulf of Mexico (north
of Rio Grande); and Great Lakes; introduced into many
additional rivers. Type locality:
Wallkill, New York.
Tadpole shaped, robust anteriorly,
strongly compressed posteriorly. Head deep, rounded
above; eye small; mouth terminal; 4 pairs of barbels.
Pectoral fin spine lacks serrations, has poison gland
at base. Adipose fin continues with broad rounded
Reddish, tan or dark brown
above with one or two dark axial stripes along each
side. Belly yellowish; median fins olive.
Care & Compatibility
In common with most of this
genus they make good inhabitants of a cold (cool)
water aquarium and can be mixed with other cool water
species such as shiners, minnows and darters. They
like to have place to call home in the aquarium so
furnish it with rocks or driftwood and flat stones
so they can hide during the day. You can have either
sand or a mixed fine gravel and an internal power
filter to gently push the water around the tank, this
will imitate the conditions encountered in the wild
for this species.
There has been a few spawning's
in the aquarium, Warming the water up will possibly
induce a spawning with a clutch of eggs laid under a
flat surface or pipework. They can be left with the
parents. The life expectancy is three to four years
and they will be sexually mature in two years.
They like most meaty food,
such as cut-up earth worms, frozen blood worm and
prawns. They will also take tablet and pellet foods.
A varied diet will keep them in optimum health.
Meaning "Back Tail" referring to the fusion
of the adipose and caudal fins. gyrinus: Means tadpole.
The Audubon Society Field guide to North America Fishes,
Whales & Dolphins, 1986. Smith W.Philip; The Fishes of
Illinois; University of Illinois Press.