Return to Easily Identify Catfish   

Black bullhead

Ameiurus melas

Catfish Family

Freshwater Fish Identification

Black bullhead


Common Name(s):
Polliwog, chucklehead cat
Description:
Black bullheads are typically black to greenish-black on the back, ranging to gray or white on the belly. However, in muddy water the back may be yellowish-brown. Chin barbels are dark or black, never white. The anal fin has 17-21 rays. The tail is slightly notched with a whitish bar at the base.
Similar Fish:
Brown bullhead, yellow bullhead
Feeding Habits:
Black bullheads feed primarily from the bottom on a wide range of plant and animal material, both live and dead. Fingerlings feed almost exclusively on crustaceans. Immature aquatic insects and crustaceans often comprise a considerable proportion of the adult diet.
Range:
The original distribution of the black bullhead included the central plains west of the Appalachians and east of the Rockies, extending north into Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and south into south Texas and New Mexico. Today artificial introductions have extended the range west of the Rockies in isolated pockets including areas of British Columbia, Alberta, Mexico, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho.
Habitat:
The black bullhead is able to tolerate turbid water with a silt bottom and very low dissolved oxygen levels.
Typical Size:
An average sized black bullhead caught by anglers weighs less than one pound and less than a foot in length.
World Record:
7 pounds, 7 ounces (Source - IGFA)