Cat-eLog Right Arrow Ictaluridae Right Arrow Ameiurus

Jump to next section 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 R., 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
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 600mm or 23.6" 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.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Central North America from Southern Canada to Northern Mexico. It has been widely introduced elsewhere in the world.
North American Atlantic Drainages, Great Lakes (click on these areas to find other species found there)

Log in to view species occurence data on a map.
IUCN Red List Status Least Concern
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.
Jump to next section 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.
Jump to next section Further Information
References Q. J. Sci. Lit. Arts (R. Inst. Gr. Brit.)v. 9 - pp51
A Field Guide To Freshwater Fishes North America
North American Native Fishes for the Home Aquarium
American Aquarium Fishes
Registered Keepers Keeping this species? Why not .
There are 33 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
Wishlists Love this species? Click the heart to add it to your wish list.
There is but a single wish to keep this species, see who wants what.
Spotters Spotted this species somewhere? Click the binoculars!
There are 4 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
More on Ameiurus melas
Look up Look up Ameiurus melas on
BBCode (use in forum posts)
(species permalink)
Look up Fishbase Look up Ameiurus melas on Fishbase
Get or print a QR code for this species profile, or try our LFS label creator.
Hits 19584 hits.
Last Update 2015 Mar 10 13:54 (species record created: 2001 Apr 25 00:00)