Black Bullhead

Ameiurus melas
Ictaluridae (bullhead catfishes) in the order Siluriformes (catfishes)

Smooth, scaleless skin and barbels, or “whiskers,” around the mouth, like all catfish. Only young, spawning males are truly black; dark greenish brown is the most common coloration. Square tail and a rounded anal fin.

Total length: to 16 inches; weight: 2-3 pounds.
Habitat and conservation: 
Prefer turbid, silty water with little or no current.
Omnivorous bottom feeders, eating insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish and plant material, including dead and decaying matter.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Throughout most of the state, but concentrated in northeast and central Missouri; absent in extreme south central region.
Life cycle: 
Spawns in May or June with one or both parents selecting and guarding nest sites beneath logs or in weedy cover.
Human connections: 
Anglers pursue black bullhead with a variety of methods, including trot or jug lines and rod and reel.
Ecosystem connections: 
As a bottom feeder, this species aids in the decomposition process and nutrient cycling.
Shortened URL