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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Osteichthyes
Classis: Actinopterygii
Subclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Superordo: Ostariophysi
Ordo: Siluriformes
Familia: Ictaluridae
Genera: Ameiurus - †Astephus - Ictalurus - Noturus - Prietella - Pylodictis - Satan - Trogloglanis


Ictaluridae Gill, 1861

Vernacular Names

The Ictaluridae, sometimes called Ictalurids, are a family of catfish native to North America, where they are important food fish and sometimes as a sport fish. They include fish commonly known as bullheads, madtoms, channel catfish, and blue catfish.


Ictaluridae is strongly supported as a monophyletic group.[1] Ictaluridae is closely related to the Asian family Cranoglanididae. These two families are sister taxa in the superfamily Ictaluroidea.[1]

Though the family includes three genera of blind, subterranean, and troglobitic catfishes, Trogloglanis, Satan, and Prietella, none of these three genera are closely related. Instead, Satan is closely related to Pylodictis, Prietella to Noturus, and Trogloglanis possibly to Ictalurus, although it may not be closely related to any of the other ictalurids.[2] Ameiurus is sister to a clade formed by Satan, Pylodictis, Noturus, and Prietella.[3]

Distribution and habitat

Ictalurids originate from North America from southern Canada to Guatemala.[4] Both bullheads and madtoms tend to be found in small streams and ponds, but are also known in larger bodies of water. Channel catfish, bullheads and madtoms are "bottom feeders" with widely varied diets that include scavenging.


Ictalurid species have four pairs of barbels (commonly referred to as "whiskers" as applied to catfish). The skin has no scales. The dorsal and pectoral fins usually possess a spine. The dorsal fin usually has six soft rays. The palate is toothless except in the fossil genus Astephus.[4] The genera Trogoglanis, Satan, and Prietella include four species of blind catfishes.[4] They have the ability to inflict painful stings with venomous spines embedded in their fins.

One of the largest species is the blue catfish, Ictalurus furcatus, specimens of which have been found to weigh over 50 kilograms (110 lb). The maximum length is 160 centimetres (5.2 ft) in the blue catfish and the flathead catfish.[4] The bullheads, on the other hand, are small catfish which at maturity often weigh less than half a kilogram (1 lb), while the madtoms (genus Noturus) are in general much smaller.

Relationship to humans

The North American catfish has acquired an association with American Southern folklore which exceeds its place as a mere food fish. The image of cane pole fishing for catfish at a proverbial lazy stream has become a stand-by of southern Americana. Even today the catfish fishing culture features use of arcane "stink baits" and elaborate night-fishing techniques, giving catfish fishing a uniqueness in approach and emphasis as contrasted with the technology-oriented realms of fishing such as bass fishing.

In some areas, the bullhead is seen as a desirable fishing quarry, for its fighting qualities exceed its size. In other areas, it is seen as a nuisance fish due to its efficient bait-stealing qualities.


1. ^ a b Sullivan, JP; Lundberg JG; Hardman M (2006). "A phylogenetic analysis of the major groups of catfishes (Teleostei: Siluriformes) using rag1 and rag2 nuclear gene sequences". Mol Phylogenet Evol. 41 (3): 636–62. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.044. PMID 16876440.
2. ^ Langecker, Thomas G.; Longley, Glenn (1993). "Morphological Adaptations of the Texas Blind Catfishes Trogloglanis pattersoni and Satan eurystomus (Siluriformes: Ictaluridae) to Their Underground Environment". Copeia 1993 (4): 976–986. doi:10.2307/1447075. http://jstor.org/stable/1447075.
3. ^ Walsh, Stephen J.; Gilbert, Carter R. (1995). "New Species of Troglobitic Catfish of the Genus Prietella (Siluriformes: Ictaluridae) from Northeastern México". Copeia 1995 (4): 850–861. doi:10.2307/1447033. http://jstor.org/stable/1447033.
4. ^ a b c d Nelson, Joseph S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-25031-7.

External links

* Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Ictaluridae" in FishBase. Mar 2007 version.

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License