Hardhead Catfish

The hardhead catfish has a sharp spine near its fin to inject venom
Hardhead Catfish Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Ariopsis felis
Hardhead Catfish Physical Characteristics
Brown, Blue, White, Silver
5 – 8 years
1-12 pounds
Hardhead Catfish Distribition

” The hardhead catfish can generate audio by grinding its teeth or shaking the bones situated near to the swim bladder.”

Called after the bony plate on the top of the head, the hardhead catfish is a tool- sized aquatic killer or omnivore that sorts along all-time low of the sea, searching for food. It is commonly incorrect for the Gafftopsail catfish (though both species aren’t also participants of the very same genus). They are extremely typical and abundant throughout the southeastern USA however not that prominent amongst leisure or industrial fishers.

2 Amazing Hardhead Catfish Truths!

  • The sharp, serrated spinal columns beside the dorsal (top- most) and pectoral (side) fins can not just puncture the skin and injure, however the mucous covering the spinal column likewise has an uncomfortable toxic substance. Because fishers occasionally discard them on the coastline, you must beware regarding tipping on them, due to the fact that the spinal columns can pierce footwear.
  • It’s been guessed that the hardhead catfish might utilize echolocation to notice its surrounding setting and prevent challenges. This is due to the fact that the species gives off a radio frequency pulse on a regular basis.

Classification and Scientific Name

The scientific name of the hardhead catfish is Ariopsis felis The genus of Ariopsis, which has 4 living participants, might originate from the mix of 2 various Greek words: “ari” suggests terrific toughness or exceptional, and “opsis” suggests appearance. This is a referral to the fish’s solid difficult- headed appearance. Felis is just the Latin name for a cat.


The hardhead catfish is characterized by a lengthy body, forked tail, squashed head with difficult bony plates, and, certainly, 6 barbels (hairs) predicting from the mouth and chin that aid it notice its surrounding setting. The top fifty percent of the body is a silvery blue- eco-friendly or brownish shade, while the bottom is primarily white. These fish are generally 12 to 16 inches long and consider one to 12 extra pounds. The biggest ever before sampling recorded was 27 inches long and evaluated 12.2 extra pounds. Females usually have bigger pelvic fins than males.

The 6 hairs on this catfish are one of the most distinguishing characteristic.iStock.com/ LagunaticPhoto

Distribution, Population, and Environment

The hardhead catfish can be located near the eastern shore of the USA, within a practical range of the coastline, occasionally also collecting around the lights of anchors. They likewise take a trip as much inland as briny (salted) tidewaters and river mouths with sandy bases, specifically in the generating period, however they hardly ever relocate much sufficient to get to freshwater. The best focus of catfish shows up around the southeastern USA and the Gulf of Mexico.

While population numbers are unidentified, it is presently identified as a species of least concern by the IUCN Red Checklist. They are occasionally vulnerable to contamination and big algae blossoms, which limit the quantity of oxygen, eliminating much fish in the location.

Predators and Victim

The hardhead catfish is an omnivore. It sorts along all-time low of the sea or tidewater for food with its hairs and after that chooses whatever nibble it can locate. It is not specifically fussy regarding what it consumes. These are opportunistic predators.

What consumes the hardhead catfish?

The hardhead catfish are preyed upon by bigger fish such as sharks and gars. The poisonous spinal column gives a level of defense versuspredators They likewise such as to take a trip in colleges.

What does the hardhead catfish eat?

The diet of the hardhead catfish contains algae, seagrasses, sea cucumbers, shrimp, crabs, gastropods (like sea snails), and tiny fish.

Reproduction and Life Expectancy

The generating period of the hardhead catfish normally occurs each year in between Might and September in the superficial waters of tidewaters and river mouths, though some might select to generate in much deeper sea waters. Females just generate 20 to 65 eggs per generate, a reasonably reduced number contrasted to lots of fish. Nevertheless, they make up for this with more powerful adult financial investment.

The male will certainly maintain the eggs concealed securely away in his mouth to safeguard them frompredators Mouth brooding is the technological term for this method. Males do not search for food when they lug the eggs in their mouths. Nevertheless, it’s been guessed that they might take in a few of the non- feasible or unfertilized eggs in the brood.

After regarding a 30- day gestation duration, the larvae will certainly arise from the eggs. They will certainly stay secure within the dad’s mouth up until they completely absorb their egg yolks after regarding 2 to 4 weeks. Also after discovering to search by themselves, the juveniles might remain to look for haven in the dad’s mouth for time later. Due to this fascinating reproductive method, adolescent hardhead catfish have greater survival prices than lots of various other kinds of fish. The regular life-span is 5 to 8 years.

Hardhead Catfish in Angling and Food Preparation

The hardhead catfish is extremely abundant and typical the whole time the southeastern shore of the USA. They are commonly taken into consideration to be a problem by fishers due to the fact that they swipe lure meant for various other fish. The meat is likewise not extremely related to by fishers, maybe due to just how hard it can be to cleanse it. When this catfish is purposely searched for, lower trawling is an usual approach of angling for multitudes.

Real-time lure, consisting of chicken or tiny fish, likewise functions well for leisure angling. Practically any type of tool deal with and rotating reel will certainly function well, however they do install a solid battle in contrast to their dimension. Due to the agonizing sting from the spinal column, they should be managed with severe treatment. The meat often tends to have a questionable preference, however the strength relies on a number of elements, consisting of the catfish’s diet and nautical problems.


  1. The University of Southern Mississippi, Available here: https://gcrl.usm.edu/public/fish/hardhead.catfish.php
  2. Reel Pursuits, Available here: https://www.reelpursuits.com/can-you-eat-saltwater-catfish/

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