Family: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.
Size:Total length: to 16 inches; weight: 2-3 pounds.
Habitat and conservation:Prefer turbid, silty water with little or no current.
Foods: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.