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Ameiurus natalis (Lesueur, 1819)

Image contributors to this species:

Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves (1) Konrad Schmidt (1)

ScotCat Sources:

Factsheet Article Etymology = Genus

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory


Relevant Information:

Lives in pools, backwaters, and sluggish current over soft substrate in creeks and small to large rivers; oxbows, ponds, and impoundments. This species is a good sport and food fish and is active at night searching out food along the bottom by relying on its barbels and sense of smell. The 'Yellow Bullhead' closely resembles the 'Black Bullhead' A. melas, but the difference's are that A. natalis has a brown to yellow colour on top with a yellowish underbelly while A.melas has a somewhat darker colour on top and a white belly and seems to have a somewhat more deeper body than the 'Yellow Bullhead'. The main criteria are the colour of the barbels on these two species. A. melas has black to dusky barbels while A. natalis has the two pair of mandibular barbels on the bottom of its chin, white/yellow, and the rest black. Aquarium Care: As an aquarium fish it would of course have to be housed in a somewhat large tank with good external filtration, without a heater, as this fish is deemed a coldwater cat and as such has a wide temperature range. Companions in this tank would be very hard to substantiate as any other fish would be viewed as lunch!. Diet: In the aquarium adults will eat just about everything, pellet food, tablet food, frozen bloodworm, earthworms, shrimps and prawns. In the wild they feed on minnows, snails, shrimp, crayfish and insect larvae.

Common Name:

Yellow Bullhead


Ictalurus natalis




North America: Atlantic and Gulf slope drainages from New York to northern Mexico, and St. Lawrence-Great Lakes and Mississippi river basins from southern Quebec west to central North Dakota, and south to the Gulf.


46cm. (16½ins)


08 -30°C (45-87°F)




ScotCat Factsheet no. 43. Jan.2000.
Knopf, The Audubon Society Field guide to North America Fishes, Whales & Dolphins, 1986.



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