Black Madtom
Photo by L. M. Page
Adult male from Sandy Hook Cr., Marion Co., MS
42 mm SL, Collected 3-March 1978, INHS 78625

Noturus funebris Gilbert & Swain 1891

Identification: The Black Madtom has a stout body that is black or blue-black above, lighter below, with a pattern of tiny black dots over the body. Dots are most conspicuous on the light underside of the head and belly. The anal fin is long with 21-27 rays and reaches the caudal fin. The upper jaw projects beyond the lower jaw. The pectoral spine has no or only a few small teeth on the rear edge. The caudal fin is straight or slightly rounded. To 5 3/4 in. (15 cm) total length.

Range: The Black Madtom is found in Gulf Slope drainages from Enconfina Creek, Florida, to the Pearl River, Mississippi and Louisiana. This species is common.

Habitat: The Black Madtom inhabits vegetated areas in moderate to fast, clear water creeks and small rivers. It usually is found in flowing water over gravel and sand.

Similar species: The Brown Madtom, Noturus phaeus, is brown above and has large sawlike teeth on the rear edge of the pectoral fin spine and a shorter anal fin with 20-22 rays. The Speckled Madtom, Noturus leptacanthus, is brown and has conspicuous black specks – some much larger than others – on the back and sides and 14-19 anal rays. The Freckled Madtom, Noturus nocturnus, lacks dark dots or specks on the underside of the head and belly, and has 16-18 anal rays.

Black Madtom map
Distribution Map