E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Ameiurus melas (Rafinesque, 1820)
Black Bullhead
Family: Ictaluridae
Photo of species

© Carla Davis  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #10989)


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Source: Distribution map provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC
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Species Information

Darkly pigmented barbels, weak serrations along the posterier edge of the pectoral spine, and 15-19 anal rays. In BC, adults are black above and white or lemon yellow below. Juveniles are also black above and white below. This species can be confused with the brown bullhead (Ameirurus nevulosus) and the yellow bullhead (Ameiurus natalis), however adults can be separated by the development of serrations on the trailing edge of the pectoral spines, which are absent on brown and yellow bullhead. For further infoormation see McPhail (2007). (Source: McPhail, J. D. 2007. The Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia. The University of Alberta Press. 620 p.)
Source: McPail, J. D. 2008. The Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia. University of Alberta Press, Edmonton.

Biology

Species Biology

Inhabits pools, backwaters, and sluggish current over soft substrates in creeks and small to large rivers; impoundments, oxbows, and ponds. Nocturnal feeder, young consume immature insects, leeches, and crustaceans while adults also feed on clams, snails, plant material, and fishes (Ref. 1998, 9669, 10294). Edible (Ref. 1998). Often misidentified as A. nebulosus (Ref. 59043).

Source: FishBase. Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr 1991 A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p.

Distribution

BC Distribution and Notes

This is an introduced eastern North American species. In B.C., black bullheads typically occur in altered environments that contain a high proportion of non-native species (e.g., the Okanagan drainage system and the Kootenay River near Creston). It is not clear what impacts, if any, the black bullhead has had on our indigenous fishes.

Source: Information provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC.
Global Distribution

North America: Great Lakes to northern Mexico. Confusion over the taxonomic status of this species together with Ameiurus nebulosus resulted in more doubts as to which of the two is present in some countries. In Europe it forms dense stunted populations which makes it unpopular. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.

Source: FishBase. Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr 1991 A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p.
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Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
COSEWIC
ExoticSNAExoticNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References


Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2022-01-18 8:09:43 AM]
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