Carolina Madtom
Photo by Richard T. Bryant & Wayne C. Starnes
Fishing Cr. at NC 97, 7.4 air miles N of Tarboro, Edgecomb Co., NC
58 mm SL, Collected 12-May 1999

Noturus furiosus Jordan & Meek 1889

Identification: The Carolina Madtom has a stout body with the deepest point located beneath the dorsal fin. The body is yellow to dark brown with dark mottling above and white to yellow below. There are 4 distinct saddles, usually no light spots in front of the dorsal fin, and the belly lacks dark specks. The fins are blotched; the caudal fin has 2 crescent-shaped bands: 1 in the middle and 1 near the clear edge of the fin. The adipose fin has a brown or black band almost extending to the edge of the fin. The pectoral spine is large with 5-12 large teeth on the rear edge and large teeth on the front edge. The caudal fin is straight or slightly rounded and almost free from the adipose fin. The anal fin has 14-17 rays. To 4.75 in. (12 cm) total length.

Range: The Carolina Madtom is found on the Piedmont and Coastal Plain in the Neuse and Tar River drainages in North Carolina. Generally common, the species is disappearing from upstream areas.

Habitat: The Carolina Madtom inhabits sandy and gravelly riffles and runs of small to medium rivers. It usually is found near woody debris.

Similar species: The Northern Madtom, Noturus stigmosus, usually has 2 large light spots enclosed by dark pigment in front of the dorsal fin, a black band extending into the upper half of the adipose fin but not to the edge, and a dark band in the middle of the caudal fin extending forward across the upper and lower caudal rays to the caudal peduncle. The Mountain Madtom, Noturus eleutherus, lacks a dark crescent-shaped band in the middle of the caudal fin, has a dark brown band at the base of the caudal peduncle, and is usually more mottled.

Carolina Madtom map
Distribution Map