Madtom catfishes of North America are well suited
to aquarium life as most are of moderate size. As
some of this genera have very limited ranges some
are on the protected list and as such the collector
would need to have the information at hand as whether
collecting of a certain species would be permitted.
inhabits sand-gravel riffles and runs near debris
and among tree roots along undercut banks in creeks
to large rivers. They feed on aquatic insects dominated
by mayflies, caddisflies, midges, and blackflies.
The main talking
point of madtoms is the venom contained in the dorsal
and pectoral spines of this genus which can give a
very nasty sting, it is a venomous toxin that forms
part of the mucus coating on these spines. In some
cases this can last a few hours with swelling of the
infected area. This of course is a deterrent to large
predators to keep well away and is an excellent defense
mechanism. Jason Leaman from Pennsylvania talks about
a close species in N. insignis and he states
that "if you get stung by the Stonecat, the
best relief right away ironically is to rub the wound
onto the fish (anywhere you won't get stung again).
I have never had the sting last more than about 30
seconds. Its really not too painful, however throbs
a bit briefly. I don't know how long it would actually
last if I didn't use the Stonecats own medicinal value
of its oily flesh"
The freckled madtom
looks similar to the Tadpole madtom (Noturus
but is more slender, more freckled and is distinguished
by the protruding upper jaw. Taylor (1969: 79-81)
noted that the species is variable and tends to form
distintive localised populations.
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.
Mississippi River basin from northern Illinois to
Louisiana, and from eastern Kentucky tocentral
Kansas and Oklahoma in the USA; Gulf Slope drainages
from Mobile Bay in Alabama to Guadalupe River in Texas,
USA. Type Locality: Saline River
at Benton, Saline County, Arkansas.
This species is moderately
robust. The head is depressed, rounded above with
the upper jaw overhanging the lower. 4 pairs barbels.
Pectoral fin spine with anterior edge smooth, posterior
edge roughened or with 3-5 serrations, poison gland
at base. As with most of this genera, handle with
care. Anal fin is short, 15-20 rays.
Body has a uniform colour
of a brown back with the sides lighter with dark
freckles. The belly is yellowish. The base of the
median fins are dusky and lighter towards the edges,
margins are clear.
Care & Compatibility
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 housed with other North American fishes such
as minnows, darters and shiners.
As far as I am aware, no madtoms
have been bred in the U.K.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.
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 health.
fin: The median, unpaired, ventrally located
fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the posterior
half of the fish. Dorsal
primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body.
The paired fins just behind
Meaning "Back Tail" referring to the fusion
of the adipose and caudal fins. nocturnus: nocturnus meaning
nocturnal, referring to the dark colouration.
R. and D. Pauly.Editors. 2009. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic
publication. www.fishbase.org, version (05/2012).
Robinson Henry W.; Buchanan Thomas M.; Fishes
of Arkansas. The University of Arkansas Press. 536p. Schleser David M.; North American
Native Fishes for the Home Aquarium. Barron's Educational
Series. Inc. 1998. 169 p. Smith Philip W.; The fishes of Illinois.
University of Illinois Press. Urbana and Chicago. 313p.
The Audubon Society Field guide to
North American Fishes, Whales & Dolphins. Alfred
A. Knopf, New York. 848 p.