ts been a few years since we have covered this North American
nocturnus, Dec. 2014)
so 30 factsheets later we have returned to the "Brindled
Madtom" Noturus miurus. for our June factsheet of
2017. Similar looking species are the "Checkered madtom",
Noturus flavater and the "Yellowfin Madtom"
miurus inhabits riffles, pools below riffles
and runs over gravel and sand mixed with sticks and leaves
in creeks and small rivers. Also found in lakes. In its
natural habitat it feeds on dipteran larvae (midges and
blackflies), mayflies (Potamanthus and Stenonema), and hydropsychid
It inhabits mainstream rivers of small
to medium size and the lower reaches of their major tributaries.
Most commonly associated with moderate velocities, moderate depth
(about 60 cm), clean sand or clay substrata and cover in the form
of leaf packs, brush and log jams. This species is most active
Heaviest just anterior to dorsal spine.
Eye large, upper jaw overhangs lower; 4 pairs barbels. Pectoral
spine strongly serrate, poisonous. Adipose fin low, continuous
with caudal, with shallow notch posteriorly. Caudal fin rounded.
Back dark yellow/brown with three saddles;
yellowish below, sides mottled. Dorsal fin with black blotch on
edge of first 4 rays; anal fin with blotch near edge of posterior
rays. Dusky bands at end of caudal peduncle and near margin of caudal
The Madtoms are well
suited to aquarium life. Provide river gravel and smooth
rounded stones for hiding places during the day. A power
filter at one end of the tank will provide the conditions
of a flowing stream for these catfish.
Can be kept with other stream- dwelling
species such as shiners, minnows and darters.
As far as I am aware, no madtoms have been
bred in the U. K. due to the unavailability of coolwater catfishes,
but some successes have been recorded in the U.S. and Canada.
Spawning's can takes place in Spring or Summer with higher temperatures
to trigger the spawning. They exhibit parental care, with the
male or both sexes guarding the clutch.
The life expectancy is three to four
years and they will be sexually mature in two years.
Ripe females of N. nocturnus have
been collected in late May in Arkansas. Nests have been found
in beer cans in shallow riffles with reduced flow at a water temperature
of 77°F (25°C) Clutches
range from 47-154 eggs. Nests are guarded by a single male and
they hatch within 139-161 hours at the temperature mentioned above.
See ScotCat article on the breeding of Noturus
Not recorded but usually
the females are more rotund.
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
The paired fins just behind
fin: The primary
rayed fin(s) on top of the body.
Anal fin: The median, unpaired, ventrally
located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the posterior
half of the fish.
structure on the heads of most catfish.
Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection
without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Caudal fin: The tail.
Caudal peduncle: The narrow part of a fish's body
to which the caudal or tail fin is attached.
Greek, noton = back + Greek, oura
= tail; refering to the position of the tail over the back.
meaning curtailed, probably referring
to the short appearance of this fish.
Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr,
1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north
of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2016.FishBase.
World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, ( 06/2016
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes,
recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue
of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
The Audubon Society Field guide to North American
Fishes, Whales & Dolphins. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 848
© Matt Wagner