• Family: Ictaluridae (North American Catfishes)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: Endangered
• Adult Size: Typically 2-4 inches, can reach 5 inches.
• Typical Foods: Various aquatic invertebrates.
The Northern madtom is a small catfish with an almost square tail. Their adipose fin is not attached to the tail. The dark blotch on the adipose fin clearly stops before reaching the top of the fin and does not cross over the top of the fin. They differ from the very similar mountain madtom by having a distinct dark colored vertical bar or crescent shape in the center of their tail. They also are often less uniformly colored with distinct dark saddles over their back. Northern madtoms have some dark pigment in the dorsal fin as well but it does not extend to the top edge of the fin like it does on brindled madtoms. Their body color can be various shades of brown or tan. They often have some speckling of darker browns on their sides and have a white or cream colored belly. The rear edge of their pectoral spines are deeply serrated.
Habitat and Habits
The Northern madtom is found in deep swift riffles of large rivers. They usually are found in and around cobbles and boulders. In Ohio this species has a limited range and is only found in a few locations in the Muskingum, Scioto, and Little Miami River drainages.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
The Northern madtom spawns in early summer under large rocks in the riffles where they live. The male guards the eggs until they hatch.