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Pylodictis olivaris (Rafinesque, 1818)

Image contributors to this species:

Garold W.Sneegas (2) Gordon Mascall (3) Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library (1) Jian Ruilong (1)

ScotCat Sources:

Factsheet Etymology = Genus Etymology = Species

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory

Relevant Information:

Inhabit pools with logs and other debris in low-gradient to moderate-gradient, small to large rivers. Also found in lakes and impoundments. Young occur in rocky and sandy runs and riffles. Juveniles feed on aquatic insect immatures in riffle areas. The adults feed on fishes and crayfish. This is not a catfish for the home aquarium and can only be housed when large in a public aquarium facility. Breeding: They first spawn at about 4-5 years old in June and July when water temperatures reach 22-23° C (72-75° F). The flathead, normally a loner fish, pairs up with one of the opposite sex and both the male and female construct the nest. They dig out a large hole under a bank or log or dig down through silt and mud until they reach gravel. They spawn in the nest with the female laying eggs in bunches of 30 to 50. A single female can lay 3,000-30,000 eggs depending on her size. When the female is done, she leaves the nest. The male fans the eggs with his fins. After they hatch, he protects the young until they can feed on their own. This is a good sport and food fish and is commercially important in some areas.

Common Name:

Flathead Catfish


Silurus olivaris, Hopladelus olivaris, Pelodichthys olivaris, Leptops olivaris, Opladelus olivaris




North America: lower Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins from western Pennsylvania to White-Little Missouri River system in North Dakota, and south to Louisiana in the USA; Gulf Slope from Mobile Bay drainage in Georgia and Alabama, USA to Mexico. Transplanted elsewhere in USA.


155cm. (5ft-2ins)


08 -30°C (45-87°F)




Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (01/2011).
ScotCat Factsheet no. 85. July 2003.
The Audubon Society Field guide to North American Fishes, Whales & Dolphins. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 848 p



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