Ameiurus catus
Ameiurus catus
(White Catfish)
Native Transplant
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Ameiurus catus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name: White Catfish

Synonyms and Other Names: Ictalurus catus (Linnaeus, 1758).

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Page and Burr (1991); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994); Mettee et al. (1996). Generally similar to Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) and Channel Catfish (I. punctatus), but can be distinguished by the presence of a dusky or black adipose fin, shorter anal fin base, and lower degree of forking in the caudal fin.

Size: 62 cm.

Native Range: Atlantic and Gulf Slope drainages from lower Hudson River, New York, to Apalachicola basin in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama; south in peninsular Florida to Peace River drainage (modified from Page and Burr 1991).

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Alaska auto-generated map
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Puerto Rico &
Virgin Islands
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Guam Saipan
Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: White Catfish was introduced into the Choctawhatchee, Tennessee, Cahaba, Coosa and Tallapoosa drainages, and the Mobile Delta, Alabama (Mettee et al. 1996); the lower White, lower Ouachita, lower St. Francis, lower Red (Lake Erling), and Arkansas drainages, and the Illinois system, Arkansas (Buchanan 1973; Cross et al. 1986; Robison and Buchanan 1988); at least 22 counties in California including sites in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Suisun Bay, central California coastal, Tulare-Buena Vista lakes, and San Francisco Bay drainages (Smith 1896; Shebley 1917; Neale 1931; Moyle et al. 1974;  Moyle 1976; Swift et al. 1993; Dill and Cordone 1997; Sommer et al. 2001; Matern et al. 2002); most basins in Connecticut (Behnke and Wetzel 1960; Whitworth et al. 1968; Schmidt 1986; Whitworth 1996); the panhandle west of the Apalachicola basin, Florida (Boschung 1992) (FLMNH has records from the Yellow drainage); the Illinois, Mississippi, and Kaskaskia rivers in Illinois (Smith 1979; Burr and Page 1986; Burr 1991); northern and southern Indiana (Nelson and Gerking 1968); reported in the Mississippi River pool 16, Iowa (Berstein and Olson 2001); the Ohio River, Kinniconick and Tygarts creeks, and Greenbo Lake in Kentucky (Clay 1975; Burr 1980; Burr and Warren 1986); the lower Kennebec River and Merrymeeting Bay in Maine (Halliwell 2003); the Charles, Connecticut, and Merrimack drainages in Massachusetts (Schmidt 1986; Hartel 1992; Cardoza et al. 1993; Hartel et al. 1996); the Tombigbee River system, Mississippi (Ross and Brenneman 1991); Missouri River drainage in Missouri (Pflieger 1997); the Truckee, Carson, and Humboldt rivers in Nevada (Smith 1896; Miller and Alcorn 1946; La Rivers 1962; Deacon and Williams 1984; Sigler and Sigler 1996; Insider Viewpoint 2001; Vinyard 2001); the French Broad River (Menhinick 1991; Etnier and Starnes 1993), the Pigeon and Hiawassee systems in the Tennessee drainage (Starnes and Etnier 1986; Menhinick 1991), and in Obids Creek (Upper New drainage; B. Tracy, personal communication) North Carolina; Lake Erie, Sandusky Bay, the mouth of the Portage River, Sippo Lake east of Canton, Springdale Lake near Cincinnati, the Blanchard system, the Muskingum drainage, and the Ohio River in Ohio (Trautman 1981; Emery 1985; Hocutt et al. 1986); the Willamette River and other locations in western Oregon including the Tualatin River (Smith 1896; Wydoski and Whitney 1979; Bond 1994; State of Oregon 2000); Lake Erie and the Ohio River basin in Pennsylvania (Hendricks et al. 1979; Cooper 1983; Emery 1985); Rhode Island (Lapin, personal communication); the Clinch River in Tennessee (Burkhead, personal communication), and the Cowlitz River and Silver Lake in Washington (Smith 1896; Lampman 1946). Underhill (1986) reports this species as introduced into the Lake Erie drainage (state unlisted).

White Catfish is also established in several reserviors in Puerto Rico, possibly through stock contamination with channel catfish (Erdsman 1984; Lee 1983).

Means of Introduction: Intentional stocking for sport and food. Whitworth (1996) points out that because of this species' high tolerance for salinity, the original movement to large rivers in Connecticut could have been a natural range extension. Primary source of stocked fish in Kentucky is the James River, Virginia (Clay 1975). Stock planted in Indiana is from southeastern Virginia (Nelson and Gerking 1968). It is frequently stocked in fee-fishing lakes and other private waters. Pflieger (1997) indicated that specimens recorded from natural waters in Missouri may represent escapes from such situations.

Status: Many of these introductions have led to established populations. The Mississippi report is of a single individual presumably taken after 1989, because it was not reported in two publications in 1989. In apparent reference to its occurrence in the Willamette drainage and Columbia River of Oregon, Bond (1994) noted establishment as uncertain. A single individual was reported from Tennessee on an angler's stringer in 1993 (Burkhead, personal communication). Apparently not established in Arkansas (Robison and Buchanan 1988). Status in Tennessee is unknown.

Impact of Introduction: White Catfish were apparently responsible for the disappearance of Sacramento perch Archoplites interruptus in Thurston Lake, California (McCarraher and Gregory 1970).

Remarks: Yerger (1977) and Dahlberg and Scott (1971) considered the White Catfish as introduced into the Chattahoochee River. However, Mettee et al. (1996) believe it is native to the Chattahoochee based on its abundance; Boschung (1992) listed it as introduced only west of the Apalachicola; and Lee et al. (1980 et seq.) reported it as native. We have chosen to regard it as native to the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee drainage based on early records and zoogeographic pattern. The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee drainage is commonly the western edge of the distributional range of upland species that occur further to the east, as White Catfish do. This species was introduced into California under the common name of "Schuylkill catfish" (Dill and Cordone 1997).

References: (click for full references)

Bernstein, N.P., and J.R. Olson. 2001. Ecological problems with Iowa's invasive and introduced fishes. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 108(4):185-209.

Boschung, H.T. 1992. Catalogue of freshwater and marine fishes of Alabama. Alabama Museum of Natural History Bulletin 14:1-266.

Buchanan, T.M. 1973. Key to the fishes of Arkansas. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Little Rock, AR.

Burkhead, N. - U.S. Geological Survey, Southeastern Ecological Science Center, Gainesville, FL.

Burr, B.M. 1991. The fishes of Illinois: an overview of a dynamic fauna. Proceedings of our living heritage symposium. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 34(4):417-427.

Burr, B.M., and M.L. Warren, Jr. 1986. A distributional atlas of Kentucky fishes. Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission Scientific and Technical Series 4. 398 pp.

Cooper, E.L. 1983. Fishes of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA.

Dahlberg, M.D., and D.C. Scott. 1971. The freshwater fishes of Georgia. Bulletin of the Georgia Academy of Science 29:1-64.

Dill, W.A., and A.J. Cordone. 1997. History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996. Fish Bulletin 178. California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento, CA.

Erdsman, D.S. 1984. Exotic fishes in Puerto Rico. Pages 162-176 in Courtenay, W.R., Jr., and J.R. Stauffer, Jr, eds. Distribution, biology, and management of exotic fishes. John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, MD.

Etnier, D.A., and W.C. Starnes. 1993. The fishes of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN.

Halliwell, D.B. 2003. Introduced Fish in Maine. MABP series: Focus on Freshwater Biodiversity.

Hartel, K. 1992. Non-native fishes known from Massachusetts freshwaters. Occasional Reports of the MCZ Fish Department 2:1-9.

Hendricks, M.L., J.R. Stauffer, Jr., C.H. Hocutt, and C.R. Gilbert. 1979. A preliminary checklist of the fishes of the Youghiogheny River. Chicago Academy of Sciences, Natural History Miscellanea 203:1-15.

Hocutt, C.H., R.E. Jenkins, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1986. Zoogeography of the fishes of the central Appalachians and central Atlantic coastal plain. Pages 161-212 in Hocutt, C.H., and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons. New York, NY.

Insider Viewpoint. 2001. Fishing Records – Nevada. Insider Viewpoint Magazine. 3 pp.

Jones, R.A. - Fisheries Bureau, Departments of Environmental Protection, Hartford, CT. Response to NBS-G nonindigenous questionaire. 1992.

Jenkins, R.E., and N.M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Lapin, W.J. - Dept. of Envir. Manag., Div. of Fish and Wildl., West Kingson, RI. Response to NBS-G nonindigenous questionaire. 1992.

Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980 et seq. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.

McCarraher, D.B., and R.W. Gregory. 1970. Adaptability and status of introductions of Sacramento perch, Archoplites interruptus, in North America. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 99(4):700-707.

Matern, S.A., P.B. Moyle, and L.C. Pierce. 2002. Native and alien fishes in a California estuarine marsh: twenty-one years of changing assemblages. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 131: 797-816.

Menhinick, E.F. 1991. The freshwater fishes of North Carolina. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Raleigh, NC.

Mettee, M.F., P.E. O'Neil, and J.M. Pierson. 1996. Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin. Oxmoor House, Inc. Birmingham, AL.

Miller, R.R., and J.R. Alcorn. 1946. The introduced fishes of Nevada, with a history of their introduction. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 73:173-193.

Moyle, P.B., F.W. Fisher, and H. Li. 1974. Mississippi silversides and logperch in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system. California Department of Fish and Game. 60(2): 145-147.

Moyle, P.B. 1976. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA.

Nelson, J. S., and S. D. Gerking. 1968. Annotated key to the fishes of Indiana. Project 342--303--815. Department of Zoology, Indiana Aquatic Research Unit, Indiana State University, Bloomington, IN.

Page, L.M., and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Ross, S.T., and W.M. Brenneman. 1991. Distribution of freshwater fishes in Mississippi. Freshwater Fisheries Report No. 108. D-J Project Completion Report F-69. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Jackson, MS.

Shebley, W.H. 1917. History of the introduction of food and game fishes into the waters of California. California Fish and Game 3(1):3-10.

Smith, H.M. 1896. A review of the history and results of the attempts to acclimatize fish and other water animals in the Pacific states. Bulletin of the U.S. Fish Commission for 1895, 40:379-472.

Smith, P.W. 1979. The fishes of Illinois. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, IL.

Sommer, T., B. Harrell, M. Nobriga, R. Brown, P. Moyle, W. Kimmerer, and L. Schemel. 2001. California's Yolo Bypass: evidence that flood control can be compatible with fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, and agriculture. Fisheries 26(8):6-16.

State of Oregon. 2000. Warm Water Game Fish Records. 7 pp.

Trautman, M.B. 1981. The fishes of Ohio. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, OH.

Yerger, R.W. 1977. Fishes of the Apalachicola River. Florida Marine Research Publications 26:22-33.

FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 2/7/2014

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2018, Ameiurus catus (Linnaeus, 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 2/7/2014, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 1/19/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [1/19/2018].

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