Channel Catfish


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Common Name
Channel Catfish
Category
Fish
ScientificName
Ictalurus punctatus
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Osteichthyes
Order
Siluriformes
Family
Ictaluridae
Genus
Ictalurus
Species
punctatus
SubSpecies
 

 

Description
No scales; slender body; deeply-forked tail (caudal) fin; as with all catfish, adipose fin present on back near tail; anal fin rounded on the margin; scattered dark spots on back and sides, except large adults and small young; slate blue to olive above, white below; four pairs of white to dusky chin barbels; upper jaw longer than lower; eyes large, above midline of head; often confused with blue catfish which is primarily found in the Ohio River
Size
12 – 20 in. (30.48 – 50.8 cm) long; 2 – 7 lbs. (0.91 – 3.18 kg); larger than 15 lbs. (6.8 kg) is rare; state record 28.3 lbs. (12.84 kg), caught in farm pond, Hickman County
Ecological Role
The channel catfish is an omnivore, feeding on both plants and animals. It is also a bottom feeder. It more actively feeds at night and rests in deep water during the day.
Fun Facts
The channel catfish is also known as the fiddler, channel cat, willow catfish, spotted catfish, forked-tail cat, lady cat, chucklehead, and sometimes blue cat although there is a blue catfish. It is one of the most important fishes harvested for food in Kentucky. The channel catfish is the main catfish used in aquaculture and is very popular as restaurant fare. Ictalurus in Greek means “fish cat” and punctatus in Latin means “spotted,” although adults often lose their spots. 
Food
Other fish, insects, crayfish, mollusks, worms, variety of dead material, plants, often bite on stink baits
Cover
 
Nest
 
Breeding
 
Eggs
 
Habitat
Deep pools and runs (areas of strong water flow) over sand or rocks in streams and rivers; ponds; lakes; reservoirs; tail waters below major reservoirs and navigation dams on the major rivers; prefers low to moderate gradient (slope of stream)
Kentucky Distribution
Statewide; stocked in farm ponds and state-managed lakes
Life Cycle
 
Life Span
22 years maximum, though most do not live past 15 years
Life Stage
 
Reproduction
 
Seasonal Changes
 
Spawning
May – July when water temperatures approach 75º – 85º F (23.8º – 29.4º C); in natural cavities created by hollow logs, underwater ledges or holes in banks; eggs laid in a large, yellowish, gelatinous mass; eggs and young guarded by male until they leave nest
Status
Common
Uses
 
Voice
 
Young
 
What We Can Do
 
Host
 
Diagnosis and Control
 
Interesting Facts
 
Contributed By
 
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