Class: Bony fish
Family: North American catfishes
Species found in the Rideau River:
Brown bullhead, tadpole madtom
Characteristics of the family:
Catfishes have sensory barbels, or "whiskers", around the mouth.
They do not have any scales. The pectoral fins have a single spine along
the front edge.
The tiny tadpole madtom is known among anglers because of its nasty sting.
The fish produces a stinging poison, used to immobilize potential predators
such as large fish or gartersnakes.
fish have a black to yellow-brown back with a yellowish or white
belly. Brown bullheads have eight sensory barbels around the
mouth and do not have any scales. The pectoral spine is saw-edged.
The tail fin is square with only a very slight fork.
cm to 35 cm
east of Saskatchewan throughout Canada and the United States.
catfishes generally live in warm-water streams, ponds, and lakes
with muddy bottoms. Catfishes can withstand water with low oxygen
levels and considerable pollution. Brown bullheads like vegetated
shallows over sand, rock, mud, or silt, in clear to turbid water.
bottom feeders, brown bullheads eat insect larvae, small fishes,
fish eggs, molluscs, carrion, plants.
occurs in late June. Parents build a nest close to the shore
in shelter of logs, rocks, vegetation, holes or burrows. They
guard their young for several weeks after hatching.