State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Ameiurus nebulosus (Lesueur, 1819)

  • Ictalurus nebulosus (Lesueur, 1819)
  • Ameiurus lacustris (Walbaum, 1792)
  • Ameiurus vulgaris (Thompson, 1842)
Vernacular Name
Brown Bullhead
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Invasive species; Fishing species
North America: Atlantic and Gulf Slope drainages from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada to Mobile Bay in Alabama in USA, and St. Lawrence-Great Lakes, Hudson Bay and Mississippi River basins from Quebec west to Saskatchewan in Canada and south to Louisiana, USA. Introduced into several countries. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction. Asia: Iran and Turkey. Occurs in pools and sluggish runs over soft substrates in creeks and small to large rivers. Also found in impoundments, lakes, and ponds. Rarely enters brackish waters (Ref. 1998). A nocturnal feeder that feeds mollusks, insects, leeches, crayfish and plankton, worms, algae, plant material, fishes and has been reported to feed on eggs of least cisco, herring and lake trout (Ref. 1998). Juveniles (3-6 cm) feed mostly on chironomid larvae, cladocerans, ostracods, amphipods, bugs and mayflies (Ref. 1998). Can tolerate high carbon dioxide and low oxygen concentrations and temperatures up to 31.6 °C although experiments show upper lethal temp. to be 37.5 °C; resistant to domestic and industrial pollution (Ref. 1998). Has been observed to bury itself in mud to escape adverse environmental conditions (Ref. 1998). Prepared hot-smoked and also cooked in various ways (Ref. 1998). Nests are built by one or both sexes. After a period of caressing each other with their barbels, male and female settle over the nest, face opposite directions (while maintaining body contact) and spawn. Although eggs are cared for by one or both parents, there have been reports of parents eating their own eggs. Caring entails fanning by the paired fins, moving and stirring by the barbels, and may be picked up and ejected from the mouth; this ensures hatching. This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations). Total adult population size is unknown but probably exceeds 1,000,000. Range extent and abundance probably have increased over the long term as a result of introductions outside the native range. Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but probably relatively stable.
Book reference
  • Соколов Н.Ю. Каталог колекції круглоротих і риб Державного природознавчого музею НАН України // Наукові записки Державного природознавчого музею. – Львів, 2004. – Т.19. – С. 15-28.
    View source
  • Kutsokon Iu., Kvach Yu., Dykyy I., Dzyziuk N. The first report of the brown bullhead Ameiurus nebulosus (Le Sueur, 1819) in the Dniester River drainage, Ukraine // BioInvasions Records. - 2018. - Vol.7, Iss.3. - P.319-324.
    View source

Taxonomic branch