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Down arrow Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Ameiurus melas  (Rafinesque, 1820)
Common Names Black Bullhead
Schwarzer Katzenwels (Germany), Sort Dværgmalle (Denmark), Svart Dvärgmal (Sweden)
Type Locality Ohio River, U.S.A.
Synonym(s) Ictalurus melas, Silurus melas
Pronunciation Ai MEE you russ - me lass
Etymology Ameiurus: ''curtailed'' refers to the lack of a deep notch in the caudal fin. melas = black
Down arrow Species Information
Size 660mm or 26" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification Very similar to the yellow bullhead, for which it can be mistaken for. The main difference is the barbels of the black bullhead which are black.
Sexing Females are fuller during the spawning season which begins mid-spring.
Down arrow Habitat Information
Distribution North America: Great Lakes to northern Mexico. Confusion over the taxonomic status of this species together with Ameiurus nebulosus resulted in more doubts as to which of the two is present in some countries. In Europe it forms dense stunted populations which makes it unpopular. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.
North American Atlantic Drainages, Great Lakes (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Category Not Evaluated
pH 6.0 - 7.6
Temperature 8.0-28.0°C or 46.4-82.4°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters Tolerates poor conditions both in the wild and in captivity. Can survive for a limited time with as little as .5 ppm oxygen concentration and in unusually high temperatures.
Down arrow Husbandry Information
Feeding Carnivore. Eats just about anything including minnows, goldfish, crayfish, earthworms and the like. They will accept most frozen foods as well as suitably sized dry foods.
Furniture Likes to hide around driftwood and plants. Plants must be sturdy and in pots to prevent being uprooted by the catfish in its search for food.
Compatibility Good with most fish, especially larger cichlids. Do not keep with small fish, it will eat them.
Breeding This fish spawns most frequently during late May and June. Spawning occurs over sand in reed infested back waters. The females excavates a shallow nest by fin-fanning the substrate and pushing it with her snout. Spawning is accomplished in a head-to-tail embrace, the male wrapping his tail over the snout of the female. Typically 2500-4000 eggs are released.
Breeding Reports There is but a single breeding report, read it here.
Down arrow Further Information
Reference Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature and the Arts v. 9, pp 51.
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Last Update 2020 Oct 25 01:00 (species record created: 2001 Apr 25 00:00)