Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin
Bullhead catfish family - ictaluridae, pp. 693-732 PDF (19.6 MB)
Stonecat 725 Stonecat Noturus flavus Rafinesque. Noturus-back tail, in ref- erence to the connection between the adipose and the caudal fins; flavus-yellow. Other common names: yellow stonecat, stone cat- fish, stonecat madtom, catfish, white cat, doog- ler, beetle-eye, mongrel bullhead, deepwater bullhead. Adult 162 mm, mouth of Plover R. (Portage Co.), 9 July 1958 DESCRIPTION Body elongate, cylindrical anteriorly, slightly com- pressed posteriorly. Length 127-152 mm (5-6 in). TL = 1.18 SL. Depth into TL 4.6-7.8. Head length into TL 4.1-4.7. Snout pointed, fleshy; barbels arising from collar surrounding posterior nostrils, with tips reaching beyond middle of eyes. Mouth short but wide, horizontal; lips thick and fleshy. Lower jaw shorter than upper jaw; longest barbel (less than half of head length) attached to upper jaw at each corner of mouth; 4 barbels (outer 2 almost as long as the up- per jaw barbels, inner 2 about 2/3 length of outer bar- bels) attached in a transverse line on the lower chin. Numerous small, sharp, or peglike teeth in broad bands on upper and lower jaws; tooth patch on up- per jaw with elongate lateral backward extensions. Dorsal fin origin decidedly in advance of midpoint between pectoral and pelvic fins; dorsal fin swollen at base, dorsal fin with a short spine (¼-1/3 fin height) and 6-7 rays; dorsal adipose fin long, low, continu- ous with caudal fin and delimited from it by a shal- low notch. Anal fin rays 15-18; pelvic fin rays 8-10. Pectoral fin spine short (¼-V/3 fin length), strongly notched on its anterior edge from tip of spine to more than half of its length; posterior edge of spine smooth and barbless; poison gland opening by pore above base of pectoral fin (Scott and Crossman 1973, Reed 1907). Caudal fin roughly rectangular in shape. Scaleless. Lateral line incomplete. Digestive tract coiled, about 1.3 TL. Chromosomes 2n = 48-50 (LeGrande 1978). Dorsal region of head, back, and upper caudal pe- duncle brown to slate gray; sides yellow-brown; belly yellowish to whitish. Light rectangular patch be- tween back of head and origin of dorsal fin; small light patch immediately posterior to base of dorsal fin. Pelvic fins generally unpigmented; all other fins lightly to heavily pigmented and light edged. Upper barbels lightly pigmented to mottled; chin barbels whitish. DISTRIBUTION, STATUS, AND HABITAT In Wisconsin, the stonecat occurs in all three drain- age basins. It is well distributed in streams within the southern one-third of the Mississippi River drainage in Wisconsin, and northward it appears in widely separated streams within the drainage systems of the Wisconsin, Black, and Chippewa rivers. In the Lake Superior basin, it appears mostly in the mouths of tributaries to the lake. In the Lake Michigan basin, disjunct populations occur in the Wolf, upper Fox, Milwaukee, and Root river systems. There are no records of the stonecat from Lakes Superior and Michigan. Because of its rubble-type habitat, this species is seldom captured by seine; the usual method is by electrofishing. The stonecat is common in tributaries to Lake Su- perior (Moore and Braem 1965, McLain et al. 1965). In the southern two-thirds of Wisconsin, it is uncom- mon to common in medium-sized streams of moder- ate current. Its status is secure. In Wisconsin, the stonecat was encountered most frequently in clear water at depths of 0.6-1.5 m, over substrates of gravel (34% frequency), rubble (24%), sand (12%), boulders (10%), mud (8%), silt (6%), clay (4%), and bedrock (2%). It occurs in moderate to fast current in riffles, in pools, and around the rock pil- ings of bridge abutments. It is found in streams of the following widths: 1.0-3.0 m (4%), 3.1-6.0 m (44%), 6.1-12.0 m (20%), 12.1-24.0 m (16%) 24.1-50.1 m (16%), and over 50 m (occasional). The crevices among rock slabs which have been loosely placed to- gether to form a bank riprap, serve as habitat niches for this species. Its typical habitat is a stream with many large, loose rocks. This species has been reported from Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron and from Lake Erie, where it occurs from shallows along the shore to depths of 9 m or more (Fish 1932, Scott and Crossman 1973), in areas where there is a minimum of current but much wave action (Taylor 1969).
Copyright 1983. The entirety of this book is available for viewing by the public as an Open Access text through the cooperative efforts of George Becker, the University of Wisconsin Press, and the UWDCC. This Work is copyrighted to the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Any use of this material falling outside the purview of "Fair Use" requires the permission of the University of Wisconsin Press.