Cat-eLog Right Arrow Ictaluridae Right Arrow Ictalurus

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Ictalurus furcatus  (Valenciennes, 1840)
Common Names Blue Channel Catfish
Blå Dværgmalle (Denmark), Fulton Catfish, Great Blue Catfish, High Fin Blue Catfish, Humpback Catfish, North American Blue Catfish, Silver Catfish, White Fulton Catfish
Type Locality Wabash R., Illinois, U.S.A.
Synonym(s) Amiurus meridionalis, Ictalurus meridionalis, Pimelodus furcatus
Pronunciation ick tal oo russ - fur kat uss
Etymology Ictalurus: From the Greek ichthys, meaning fish, and ailouros, meaning cat; literally "fish cat" (=catfish). furcatus: meaning forked, a reference to the deeply forked caudal fin.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 1651mm or 65" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification Only confused with adult channel cats. In juveniles the blue generally has a darker body with a whitish belly while the channel is silvery with few small dark spots. The channel cat averages 27-30 anal fin rays while the blue has 33-35. Ictalurus furcatus has a head that is wedge shaped, consistent with a blue cat's wedge shaped head is a noticeable dorsal hump in front of the dorsal fin, a channel cats head is more rounded or cigar shaped. Barbels on a blue cat are reduced in relation to I. punctatus. Also in comparison to channel cats which have a rounded anal fin the anterior margin of the anal fin is truncate in I .furcatus.
Sexing Unknown
General Remarks This is North America's largest native fish. Recent sports fishing records show this fish weighing well over 100 pounds, with a world record as of June 2011 of 143 pounds and 57 inches in length. In recent times, the fish is seriously overfished, records from before the year 1900 range from 200 to 300 pounds. Rafinesque, a noted naturalist, claimed to have seen a specimen at 250 pounds.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Native range included the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri river basins. Introduced in California, Washington, and Arizona.
Gulf Coast Drainages, Mississippi, Missouri (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Gulf Coast Drainages, Mississippi (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Gulf Coast Drainages, Mississippi, Ohio (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Status Least Concern
pH 6.6 - 8.4
Temperature 10.0-22.0°C or 50-71.6°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters Tolerates brackish water, but not as well as the white catfish, Ameiurus catus. Prefers stronger currents than either the channel or flathead catfish. Favours deep swift channels in large rivers.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding Mainly fishes, but also frogs and molluscs.
Furniture Not an aquarium fish.
Compatibility Anything which can't be swallowed - given this fishes huge size - that rules out most other freshwater fish.
Suggested Tankmates Large central American cichlids fit the bill both in terms of size and water conditions.
Breeding Similar to the channel catfish.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Jump to next section Further Information
References Hist. Nat. Poiss. v. 15 - pp136
A Field Guide To Freshwater Fishes North America
North American Native Fishes for the Home Aquarium
American Aquarium Fishes
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Last Update 2013 Jul 19 11:06 (species record created: 2001 Apr 25 00:00)