The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Ameiurus catus
Ameiurus catus
(White Catfish)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
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).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Ameiurus catus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AL1960199916Cahaba; Guntersville Lake; Lower Choctawhatchee; Lower Coosa; Lower Tallapoosa; Lower Tombigbee; Middle Coosa; Middle Tallapoosa; Mobile Bay; Mobile-Tensaw; Pea; Perdido; Pickwick Lake; Upper Choctawhatchee; Upper Coosa; Wheeler Lake
AR197319888Big; Bodcau Bayou; Illinois; Lake Conway-Point Remove; Lower Ouachita-Smackover; Lower White; Lower White-Bayou Des Arc; Upper Saline
CA1874202121California; California Region; Central California Coastal; Coyote; Lower Eel; Lower Sacramento; Lower Sacramento; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; Monterey Bay; Newport Bay; Pajaro; San Diego; San Francisco Bay; San Joaquin; San Joaquin Delta; Santa Clara; Suisun Bay; Tulare-Buena Vista Lakes; Upper Cache; Upper Sacramento; Upper Yuba
CT198619944Housatonic; New England Region; Outlet Connecticut River; Thames
FL195420156Blackwater; Choctawhatchee Bay; Lower Choctawhatchee; Pensacola Bay; St. Andrew-St. Joseph Bays; Yellow
IL196519915Copperas-Duck; Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua; Middle Kaskaskia; Upper Illinois; Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau
KY197019865Little Sandy; Little Scioto-Tygarts; Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon; Middle Ohio-Laughery; Ohio Brush-Whiteoak
ME198020193Lower Kennebec River; Penobscot River; St. George-Sheepscot
MA198620054Ashuelot River-Connecticut River; Charles; Outlet Connecticut River; Winnipesaukee River
MO197519913Lower Missouri-Moreau; South Grand; Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau
NV1877200111Black Rock Desert-Humboldt; Carson; Carson Desert; Central Lahontan; Central Nevada Desert Basins; Great Basin; Great Basin Region; Lower Humboldt; Middle Carson; Middle Humboldt; Truckee
NH199619961Merrimack River
NC199120133French Broad-Holston; Upper New; Upper Tennessee
OH193919947Lake Erie; Little Miami; Middle Ohio-Laughery; Muskingum; Tuscarawas; Upper Ohio; Upper Ohio-Wheeling
OR188019895Lower Columbia-Clatskanie; Lower Willamette; Middle Willamette; Pacific Northwest Region; Willamette
PA197919833Lake Erie; Upper Ohio; Youghiogheny
PR197220074Cibuco-Guajataca; Eastern Puerto Rico; Puerto Rico; Southern Puerto Rico
RI199219921New England Region
TN199319931Upper Clinch, Tennessee, Virginia
WA188020036Banks Lake; Lower Columbia-Clatskanie; Lower Cowlitz; Pacific Northwest Region; Queets-Quinault; Skykomish

Table last updated 4/15/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

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. http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt8p30069f&brand=calisphere.

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: 2/7/2014

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2024, Ameiurus catus (Linnaeus, 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=729, Revision Date: 2/7/2014, Peer Review Date: 2/7/2014, Access Date: 4/16/2024

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.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/16/2024].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted.

For general information and questions about the database, contact Wesley Daniel. For problems and technical issues, contact Matthew Neilson.