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Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris


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Flathead Catfish
credit: Engbretson, Eric

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Family: Ictaluridae, Bullhead Catfishes view all from this family

Description The flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris), also called the yellow cat, opelousas, and shovelhead cat, are large North American freshwater catfish. This is the only species of the genus Pylodictis. Ranging from the lower Great Lakes region to northern Mexico, they have been widely introduced and are an invasive species in some areas.

nhabiting deep pools, lakes, and large slow-moving rivers, flathead catfish are popular among anglers; their flesh is widely regarded as the tastiest of the catfishes. Their size also make the flatheads effective subjects of public aquaria. Like most catfish, flatheads are benthic feeders and prefer live prey. They are voracious carnivores and feed primarily on other fish, insects, annelid worms and crustaceans.

Dimensions Up to 4'5" (1.4 m); 91 lbs, 4 ozs (41 kg).

Habitat Lakes & ponds, Rivers & streams.

Range Their native range includes a broad area west of the Appalachian Mountains encompassing large rivers of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio basins. The range extends as far north as North Dakota, as far west as Arizona, and south to the Gulf of Mexico including northeastern Mexico.