Arkansas State Fish
Blue Catfish (common name)
Ictalurus furcatus (scientific name)
The blue catfish is one of the largest species of North American catfish as well as one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. It is a common fish in the southern United States, especially in the feeders of the Mississippi River such as the Arkansas and Ohio rivers. The fish's genus name is ictalurus, which means "fish cat" in Greek, and the species name furcatus means "forked" in Latin, a reference to the fish's forked tail.
The blue catfish's coloration is pale blue to dark olive-green on the back and sides, with a silver-white belly and dark spots all over its body. The "whiskers" on the fish's chin are long and white. The fish has a distinctive anal fin running along the underside of its tail, which females use to dig nests. Blue catfish are very similar to channel catfish and are often confused with them. Both fish are bottom-feeders, but blue catfish are larger, prefer sandy and rocky bottoms over muddy bottoms, grow faster, and live longer. Blue catfish are an important commercial and sport-fishing species prized for their size and flavor.
Length: Average of 24 in (61 cm)
Weight: Average of 10 lbs (4.5 kg)
Up to 25 years
Range: Throughout the Mississippi River basin including the Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Ohio rivers, and in the Suwannee, Apalachicola, Escambia, and Yellow rivers in northwest Florida, Mexico, and Guatemala. They have also been introduced in reservoirs and rivers throughout the U.S.
Water type: Primarily deep, moving, freshwater bodies; sometimes also in brackish water.
Water temp: 60–80°F (16–20°C)
Elevation: 6,700 ft (2,000 m)
Conservation Status: Not evaluated
Fish, crayfish, frogs, aquatic insects, and shellfish
Spawning frequency: Late spring or early summer
Mating behavior: Distinct pairing
Egg laying: Catfish are hole nesters. They will dig a hole in relatively still waters where a large female can lay up to 200,000 eggs.
Arkansas cat, humpback blue, silver cat, mad tom, forktail cat, great blue cat, chucklehead cat, blue fulton
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