Headwater Catfish
Photo by W. Howard Brandenburg
Phantom Lake Springs, Jeff Davis Co., TX
Collected 28-August 1996, MSB 40641
Headwater Catfish
Photo by W. Howard Brandenburg
Delaware Cr., Eddy Co., NM
Collected 13-August 1947, MSB 478
Headwater Catfish
Photo by W. Howard Brandenburg
Rocky Arroyo, Eddy Co., NM
Collected 7-May 1992, MSB 10635

Ictalurus lupus (Girard 1858)

Identification: The Headwater Catfish is very similar to the Channel Catfish but can be distinguished by having a deeper caudal peduncle and a broader head, mouth and snout. To 19 in. (48 cm) total length.

Range: Within the U.S., the Headwater Catfish is restricted to the Rio Grande drainage, including the Pecos River system in southeastern New Mexico and the Devils River in southern Texas. Also found in northeastern New Mexico. It is locally common.

Habitat: The Headwater Catfish lives in sandy and rocky riffles, runs and pools of clear creeks and small rivers.

Similar species: See account for the Channel Catfish, I. punctatus. The similar Yaqui Catfish, I. pricei is darker in color and has a shorter anal fin base.

Headwater Catfish map
Distribution Map