Flathead Catfish

The only predators that prey on flathead catfish are members of their own species and humans who catch them for commercial and recreational purposes.
Flathead Catfish Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Pylodictis olivaris
Flathead Catfish Physical Characteristics
Brown, Yellow, White
Flathead Catfish Distribition

The flathead catfish is a huge usual species that is most definitely not recognized for its appearances. They are fresh water catfish, and anglers usually hook big samplings that installed a hard battle.

These catfish contribute in business and leisure usage and can be a good dish if fished from a tidy setting.

Flathead catfish populate several areas where they happen normally or from hair transplanting and can expand fairly rapidly. Their dimension varies from 10 to 15 extra pounds, yet it’s not unusual for anglers to capture samplings approximately 20 extra pounds. Nonetheless, in beautiful waters, there is an opportunity of capturing a flathead catfish considering over 50 extra pounds.

3 Incredible Flathead Catfish Truths

  • Flatheads are singular fish, making it difficult to reproduce them in bondage; nonetheless, they can mate in big fish ponds. They generate when the water temperature level begins to increase, which is generally late springtime.
  • The majority of catfish are scavengers, yet flatheads are not; they just take advantage of real-time fish. Juveniles generally eat invertebrates like insects, worms, and crayfish
  • In Texas, flathead catfish are the 2nd biggest sporting activity fish; the most significant is heaven catfish

Various Sorts Of Catfish

There more than 3000 catfish species, comprising 40 kinds of households, of which 30 are belonging to the United States! The 3 primary species are blue catfish, network catfish, and flathead catfish.

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish meet their name with their light and dark blue coloring that often shows up black. They have a white underbelly and no places. Their ordinary weight is in between 20 to 40 extra pounds.

Network Catfish

Network catfish are commonly olive- brownish to grey and have dark places covering their bodies, specifically in smaller sized fish. Furthermore, they have a creamy colored- silver underbelly and can consider around 30 extra pounds.

Wels Catfish

Wels catfish are the only catfish species belonging to Europe and populate the Black, Baltic and Caspian seas. They are big and might come up to 6 feet long, and can consider approximately 143 extra pounds!

Flathead Catfish Scientific Name

The flathead catfish’s scientific name is Pylodictis olivaris, and it comes from the Order Siluriformes. They happen inland or in seaside waters on every continent other than Antarctica. Nonetheless, they have actually populated every continent at some time.

Siluriformes are most varied in exotic areas like Asia, South America, and Africa. However one family happens in Europe and an additional in The United States and Canada.

The Americas are residence to majority of the species, and just freshwater species populate Madagascar, South  Africa, Australia, and New Guinea.

Flathead catfish are participants of the Family Ictaluridae, that includes 49 species. They are the biggest family of freshwater fishes belonging to The United States and Canada.

They are quickly identified contrasted to various other North American freshwater fishes. Their 2 most substantial determining functions are 4 sets of hairs (barbels) around the mouth and no ranges.

Unlike various other big teams of North American freshwater fishes like darters, minnows, and fools, that are diurnal, family members Ictaliuridae are generally nighttime.

Flathead Catfish Appearance

Flathead Catfish
Flathead Catfish tails are settled and forked.slowmotiongli/Shutterstock. com

It is not difficult to identify a flathead catfish from various other species. Their tails are settled and forked, and they have big squashed heads with lengthy bodies. Tool to big samplings usually have pot- stubborn bellies, beady eyes, and wide heads.

Their eyes highlight the monotony of their heads, which are noticeably level and in the form of an oval. Furthermore, their reduced jaw likewise accentuates their heads since it extends past the top jaw. Ultimately, unlike various other catfish species, the flathead’s rectal fin is brief, with just 14 to 17 fin rays.

The flathead catfish’s shade varies depending upon their setting, yet they are largely bespeckled with differing tones of brownish and yellow sides, and their stubborn bellies are varicolored white.

Furthermore, flathead catfishes have sharp, hefty dorsal and pectoral backs and lengthy hairs alongside their mouths.

They can expand to sizes of 61 inches and leading the ranges at a massive 123 extra pounds, that makes them the 2nd biggest North American catfish after heaven catfish ( Ictalurus furcatus). Nonetheless, their ordinary size is around 25 to 46 inches.

Flathead Catfish Habits

The flathead catfish like the much deeper components of lakes and rivers. They assail their target, waiting under cover till their target comes better. Flatheads are nighttime; nonetheless, they are likewise often energetic throughout the day.

Furthermore, they are largely piscivorous, implying their diet is composed generally of fish, and they are recognized for consuming various other video game fish in locations where they are an intrusive species. Nonetheless, when the water temperature level goes down listed below 50 ° F, they come to be non-active.

Flathead Catfish Environment

Flathead catfish happen generally in big bodies of water like large rivers and tanks. They like deep swimming pools in rivers where there is tranquil water circulation. Furthermore, they such as clinical depressions or openings that exist in swirls and beside connect pilings.

One more prominent environment is tailraces listed below dams. Their optimal hiding area usually has a tough base and potentially has lumber or driftwood in it.

Nonetheless, in big tanks, flathead catfish generally happen in much deeper locations, generally in old river beds and near the headwater tributary.

Flathead Catfish Diet

Flathead catfish are omnivores and opportunistic seekers, and they eat a range of food offered to them. They are generally bottom fish and take advantage of animals like:

  • Insects
  • Crayfish
  • Clams
  • Sunfish
  • Black Eyes
  •  Gizzard shad
  • Bullheads
  • Carp

Furthermore, they eat earthbound animals that attempt ahead as well near to the water. The most effective lure to make use of when attempting to capture a flathead catfish is real-time fish, much more so than various other catfish species. Remarkably, they appear to be prevented by old, sticky lure.

While these fish are energetic throughout the day, they are largely nighttime and invest their days non-active in the deep water, concealed under cover. After that, as it begins to obtain dark, they move to superficial water to feed.

Flathead Catfish Predators and Hazards

The only predators that take advantage of flathead catfish are participants of their very own species and people that capture them for business and leisure functions.

Nonetheless, larvae and juveniles are prone to assaults from wading birds like herons and various other predators that populate the forage in streams and rivers.

Flathead catfish have no recognized hazards. Their population is steady right now, yet air pollution and sporting activity angling can bring about a decrease in numbers.

No preservation initiatives remain in location to shield the flathead catfish, and they are noted as a Least Concern on IUCN’s Redlist.

Flathead Catfish Reproduction, Children, and Life-span

Reproduction Period Type yearly
Reproducing Period In Between June and July
Variety Of Children 100,000
Time to Hatching 6 to 9 days
Sexually Fully grown (female) 3 to 5 years
Sexually Fully grown (male) 3 to 7 years

While the flathead catfishes’ breeding systems have actually not been recorded in the wild, researchers have actually observed them in bondage. Throughout reproduction, the male will certainly conform and around the female while scrubing her with his stomach and barbels (hairs).

Following, the males quit swimming with their tails bordering the female’s head and begin to shake. They duplicate this actions regularly till the female starts to generate, which takes about 2 week.

When restricted females generated, they transferred their eggs in a clinical depression that the fish tank made in the crushed rock. Last but not least, the eggs were fed by the males.

Generating takes around 4 hrs, and males come to be extremely hostile and begin protecting the eggs, also from the females that laid them.

Flathead Catfish Breeding System

Flathead catfish are virginal, and their sex-related maturation depends upon their setting. Nonetheless, it generally varies from 3 to 7 years in females and 3 to 5 years in males.

Females generate throughout the summer season when the water temperature level increases in between 75.2 ° F to 84.2 ° F. Their eggs begin to hatch out in between 6 to 9 days after fertilizing.

Flathead catfish construct nests under cover, that include brush heaps, stumps, rock protrusions, and logs. The variety of eggs females lay depends upon their body dimension, yet a solitary nest can hold approximately 100,000 eggs. The eggs stick in collections and are eliminated in masses of 30 to 50 eggs.

Key Reproductive Functions

  • Iteroparous
  • Seasonal Reproduction
  • Different sexes
  • Sex-related fertilizing
  • Oviparous

The males take control of duty once the eggs hatch out and will certainly remain to monitor the newborn fish for a couple of days.


The flathead catfish has an ordinary life-span of 5 to 22 years. Nonetheless, they can meet 28 years. Researcher can inform their age from their pectoral back and otolith age price quotes. Due to the fact that these catfish are so big, they are seldom maintained in bondage.

Flathead Catfish Population

Due to the fact that this species has multitudes of subpopulations in different areas, it is difficult to identify the complete population dimension.

Nonetheless, IUCN’s Redlist noted them as Least Concern with a steady population. However, as a result of serious air pollution, it is most likely that their numbers have actually gradually decreased over the last 10 years.


Their spawning tasks suggest that the flathead catfish usage responsive and chemical hints to connect.

These shrewd fish can notice their setting by utilizing their mechanosensory side line, eyes, and barbels. Furthermore, flathead catfish have a terrific feeling of hearing as a result of their Weberian device that attaches the internal ear to the swim bladder (cuts as a vibration chamber).

Ecological Community Duties

The flathead catfish are among the primary predators of various other fish species in their environments and can be intrusive in locations where they do not normally happen. Furthermore, they play host to over 25 various parasitical species, consisting of:

  • Nematodes
  • Leeches
  • Platyhelminth worms
  • Copepods
  • Fresh mussel larvae
  • Water lice


Flathead catfish are a looked for- after catch for fishermens in lakes and rivers. Furthermore, they give a hard battle, that makes all the initiative worth it. Bigger samplings are usually located in grab- filled up environments and can take a while to suppress. Heavy deal with is required to capture among these monsters and live fish as lure.


When the flathead catfish were presented right into brand-new states, scientists saw an enormous decrease in indigenous fish populaces, making them a risk to biodiversity.

As an example, when they were presented to the Altamaha River in Georgia, they annihilated the bullhead catfish population, and scientists saw an 80% decrease in the variety of redbreast sunfish.

Furthermore, flatheads have actually gotten rid of indigenous catfish numbers in the seaside North Carolina rivers and still take advantage of shad and crayfish too. They likewise endanger crabs and American eels that share their environment.

Financial Expenses

Some searchings for recommend that flathead catfish predation might block remediation initiatives of sturgeon, shad, American eel, and candy striped bass in the Delaware Tidewater.

Wellness Threats

Consuming a flathead catfish can be dangerous since they are prone to pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyls, which trigger breakouts, and is dangerous.

This is why the Republic of Pennsylvania suggests that consuming flatheads captured in the reduced Schuylkill river must be restricted to when a month. Nonetheless, even more screening is needed to identify just how risk-free consuming flatheads from various other atmospheres is.

Avoidance and Control

Scientists think that electrofishing and extreme sporting activity angling might aid decrease flathead populaces in locations where they do not normally happen, so indigenous fish species can make it through. In Delaware and Susquehanna, fishermens are asked not to launch them when captured, regardless of their dimension.

Flathead Catfish in Fish Tanks

It is difficult maintaining a flathead catfish in bondage; nonetheless, it is possible. They require a huge adequate fish tank with several concealing areas, which you can give with a couple of rocks, big origins, and bogwood.

Flatheads expand rapidly, so you have to think about that when picking the dimension of your fish tank. Unless your fish tank is exceptionally big, just one man must exist. Furthermore, their tankmates require to be large sufficient to ensure that the flatheads’ can not eat them.

Due to the fact that flatheads eat a great deal, the fish tank has to be well filteringed system; or else, it places a great deal of stress and anxiety on the water top quality. Furthermore, the pH degree in the container have to be 6- 8, and the temperature level around 77- 82 ° F.

Like several various other catfish species in bondage, flatheads eat practically anything and are really simple to feed. They will certainly approve different dead food (also without training), yet their main diet in the wild is catfish and various other little fish species. Furthermore, they likewise take advantage of earthbound animals like young birds, frogs, and crayfish.

Reproducing flathead catfish in bondage is close to difficult due to their singular nature, yet they do reproduce in big fish ponds.

In their all-natural environments, flathead catfish generate in the direction of completion of springtime when the water temperature level begins to increase.


  1. Live About, Available here: https://www.liveabout.com/species-profile-flathead-catfish-3572716
  2. Aquatic Community, Available here: https://www.aquaticcommunity.com/catfish/flathead.php
  3. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flathead_catfish
  4. Texas Parks and Wildlife, Available here: https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/species/catfish/
  5. Chesapeake Bay Program, Available here: https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/entry/flathead_catfish
  6. Missouri Department of Conservation, Available here: https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/flathead-catfish
  7. IUCN Redlist, Available here: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/202701/18234613#

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