Pylodictis olivaris (Rafinesque, 1818)
member of the Catfish Family (Ictaluridae)
St. Croix River, Washington County, Minnesota Summer 1976
young of the year
In a Name?
Do They Live?
Fathead catfish are found in the southeastern quarter of Minnesota. They are most common in the lower Mississippi, Minnesota, and lower St. Croix rivers. Young flatheads often live among rocks in a slight current, while the adults prefer to live in deep pools, backwaters, and other sheltered places in the sluggish parts of rivers. The flathead is a bottom-dwelling species.
Big Do They Get?
Do They Eat?
Flathead catfish are mainly a "lie-in-wait" predator. They rest on the bottom by large rocks, logs, or other debris, often with their mouths open. When other fish swim near, they grab them with their huge mouths. They will eat any fish that makes the mistake of getting too close. Young flatheads eat a variety of aquatic insects, crayfish, small fish, and worms, but they soon move on to eating fish. Unlike bullhead and channel catfish, flatheads rarely eat dead or decaying animal matter.
Do They Reproduce?
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Photographs by Konrad P. Schmidt
Text by Nicole Paulson & Jay T. Hatch in cooperation with
the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' MinnAqua Aquatic Program
This page developed with funds from the
MinnAqua Program (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fisheries)
Sport Fish Restoration Program (Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior)
Maintained by Jay T. Hatch
General College and James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Last updated 23 October 2002