Blue CatfishLarry Page
The Blue Catfish has a long, straight-edged anal fin that is tapered like a barber's comb and has 30-35 rays. Blue Cats are pale blue to olive on the back and sides, white below and lack dark spots on the body (except in the Rio Grande where they have dark spots). Fins are clear or white except for the caudal fin which has black or dusky borders. Chin barbels are white. Adults have a steeply sloping dorsal profile and are blue-black above and silver-blue below. The air bladder has paired lateral chambers and a posterior chamber. To 65 in. (165 cm) total length.
The Blue Catfish lives in the Mississippi River basin from western Pennsylvania to southern South Dakota and from the Platte River, from southwestern Nebraska south to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the Gulf Slope from the Mobile Bay drainage in Alabama to the Rio Grande drainage in Texas and New Mexico and south into Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. The Blue Catfish has been introduced in Atlantic Slope drainages, western states and Minnesota. It is fairly common throughout most of its range.
Native distribution of Ictalurus furcatus © Larry Page
The Blue Catfish lives in the main channels and backwaters of medium to large rivers over mud, sand and gravel, and in large-river impoundments.
The Channel Catfish, I. punctatus, has dark spots on the body, a rounded anal fin with 24-29 rays, and no chambers in the air bladder.
Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, Florida, USA
Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Larry Page at and Griffin Sheehy at
Page copyright © 2007 Larry Page
All Rights Reserved.
- First online 23 May 2007
- Content changed 23 May 2007
Citing this page:
Page, Larry. 2007. Ictalurus furcatus http://tolweb.org/Ictalurus_furcatus/69926/2007.05.23 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Blue Catfish. Version 23 May 2007 (under construction).