Ictalurus punctatus
(Rafinesque 1818)
Family Ictaluridae

Lateral view of two channel catfish
The photo above shows an adult, top, and juvenile, bottom, channel catfish. These fish are now part of the Florida Museum ichthyology collection. Top: UF 238401 Bottom: UF 238039 Florida Museum photo by Zachary Randall

The channel catfish is a member of the North American catfish family. It has scattered black spots and a rounded anal fin with between 24 and 32 rays. Channel catfish can be found in lakes and rocky and sandy pools and runs of small to large rivers.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Native freshwater
  • Florida Distribution — Western and North Central and Peninsula drainages
  • River Drainages — Perdido River, Escambia River, Blackwater River, Yellow River, Choctawhatchee River, Econfina Creek, Apalachicola River, Ochlockonee River, minor Gulf tributaries, Suwannee River, Tampa Bay, the Myakka or Peace River, the Everglades, St. John’s River and the St. Mary’s River
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