Black Bullhead

The Black Bullhead (Ameiurus melas) is a species of bullhead catfish. The original distribution of the black bullhead included the central plains west of the Appalachians and east of the Rockies, extending north into Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and south into south Texas and New Mexico. They have been introduced west of the Rockies and today are found also in areas of British Columbia, Alberta, Mexico, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho.

Black bullheads are typically black to greenish-black on the back, ranging to gray or white on the belly. However, in muddy water the back may be yellowish-brown. Chin barbels are dark or black, never white. The tail fin is squared. The anal fin is grayish and has 17-21 rays. Adults average 1 to 2 pounds in weight. Some specimens may be larger but rarely as big 5 pounds.

Like other bullhead catfish, they have the ability to thrive in waters that are low in oxygen, brackish, turbid and very warm. Like virtually all catfish, they are nocturnal, preferring to feed at night, although young will feed during the day. They are omnivorous and eat almost anything from grains, insects, dead or living fish and crustaceans.