is a guide on identification for the Ameiurus, Ictalurus
and the monotypic genus Pylodictis found throughout
the North American continent.
Bullhead. Black blotch at dorsal
fin base. Can be mottled, short, rounded anal
fin. Relatively large eye.
Snail Bullhead. Mottled
version, Eno River, NC. It can be confusing
when you find populations like this, but understanding
range maps and the fact that Spotted Bullheads
(Ameiurus serracanthus) are hundreds
of miles away will help. Short, rounded anal
fin, around 19 anal fin rays. Relatively large
eye. Black blotch at dorsal fin base.
Catfish. I see this misidentified
the most out of all Catfish in North America.
Key: Moderately forked caudal
fin with short, rounded anal fin. No spots as
in most juvenile Channel Catfish (Ictalurus
largest of the "Bullheads", White
Catfish are in the Genus Ameiurus along
with the Black, Yellow, Brown, Flat, Snail and
Bullhead. Black chin barbels
(lower 4), sometimes a white crescent marked
shape on base of caudal fin. Rounded caudal
fin. Dark pigment between the fin rays is also
useful, not always, but it's a good supplemental
ID character (Zach Alley 2021).
Bullhead. White or yellow chin
barbels, smaller eye than other Bullheads. Sometimes
yellow in appearance, normally on the flanks
Bullhead. More of a brown appearance
but can vary greatly due to water conditions.
Brown chin barbels, sometimes mottled. Caudal
fin squared. Larger eye than the Yellow Bullhead.
Bullhead. One of the trio of
Bullheads that are easily identified by a black
blotch at the base of the dorsal fin. Only Flat,
Snail and Spotted Bullheads have this black
blotch. Mottled appearance in some populations,
flat head (not always on larger individuals).
Most often confused with the Snail Bullhead
Flat Bullhead's however will have a slightly
longer anal fin with more rays. The anal fin
is also more squared off than the Snail Bullhead's
rounded anal fin
Bullhead. Small range (FL, GA,
AL), black blotch at dorsal fin base, spotted
body, very short anal fin, rounded.
Catfish. Can grow quite large.
Blue appearance, barber like comb-anal fin,
straight edged. Moderately to deeply forked
Catfish. Juvenile - Blue appearence
normally, barber like "comb" anal
fin, straight edged and not rounded. Moderately
to deeply forked caudal fin.
Catfish. Notice the deeply
forked tail and a more rounded than straight
edged anal fin. Spots are not always present
on Channel Catfish, even in juveniles.
Lower jaw sticks out beyond upper jaw. Flattened
caudal fin or slightly notched.
Juvenile: White colored upper lobe on caudal
fin, mottled appearance as juveniles. Lower
jaw projecting beyond upper lip in larger