Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque, 1818)
Channel catfish
Channel catfish
Ictalurus punctatus
photo by Pauly, D.

Family:  Ictaluridae (North American freshwater catfishes)
Max. size:  132 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 26 kg; max. reported age: 24 years
Environment:  demersal; freshwater; pH range: 6 - 8; dH range: 4 - 30; depth range 0 - 15 m
Distribution:  North America: St. Lawrence-Great Lakes, Hudson Bay (Red River drainage), and Missouri-Mississippi river basins from southern Quebec to southern Manitoba and Montana south to Gulf. Possibly native on Atlantic and Gulf slopes from Susquehanna River to Neuse River, and from Savannah River to Lake Okeechobee, Florida, and west to northern Mexico and eastern New Mexico. Introduced throughout most of US.
Diagnosis:  Usually bluish olive, gray or black on the upper part of the body, becoming white below; dark spots usually scattered along the sides; older males dark in color, the head looking very wide when seen from the top; long barbels surrounding the mouth and the tail deeply forked (Ref. 44091).
Biology:  Inhabits lakes and deep pools and runs over sand or rocks in small to large rivers (Ref. 86798). Adults occur in rivers and streams and prefer clean, well oxygenated water (Ref. 9988), but also in ponds and reservoirs (Ref. 10294, 44091). Recorded as having been or being farmed in rice fields (Ref. 119549). Feeds primarily on small fish, crustaceans (e.g. crayfish), clams and snails; also on aquatic insects and small mammals (Ref. 9669, 10294, 44091). Marketed fresh, smoked and frozen; eaten steamed, fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved and baked (Ref. 9988). Albino form common in the aquarium trade (Ref. 13371).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 20 February 2012 Ref. (126983)
Threat to humans:  potential pest
Country info:  Does not survive in natural conditions (Ref. 9420). Also Ref. 12157.

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