Fish Identification Guide Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Black Bullhead
Ameiurus melas
Also known as: bullhead
Illustrations by Joe Tomelleri
Description: A chubby, scaleless fish having an adipose fin, 8 barbels (those under mouth black in color) that are used to locate food, and a slight notch on the rear margin of the tail. Many anglers have the misconception that the whiskers (barbels) can sting them. What have to be avoided are the hard spines (one in the dorsal fin and one in each pectoral fin) that can inflict a puncture wound if the fish is mishandled. Bullheads will overpopulate and compete with other fish if predators are lacking. When it becomes overpopulated, its bottom feeding activity stirs up bottom sediments - making the water muddy. Primarily feeds on immature aquatic insects, small crustaceans, plant material and an occasional small fish. Often caught by anglers.
Family: Catfish
Type: Commercial Fish
Range: Statewide


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