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Ictalurus lupus (Girard 1858)

Headwater Catfish

Larry Page
Containing group: Ictalurus


The Headwater Catfish is very similar to the Channel Catfish but can be distinguished by having a deeper caudal peduncle and a broader head, mouth and snout. To 19 in. (48 cm) total length.


Within the U.S., the Headwater Catfish is restricted to the Rio Grande drainage, including the Pecos River system in southeastern New Mexico and the Devils River in southern Texas. Also found in northeastern New Mexico. It is locally common.

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Distribution of Ictalurus lupus © Larry Page


The Headwater Catfish lives in sandy and rocky riffles, runs and pools of clear creeks and small rivers.

Similar Species

See account for the Channel Catfish, I. punctatus. The similar Yaqui Catfish, I. pricei is darker in color and has a shorter anal fin base.

Other Names for Ictalurus lupus (Girard 1858)

About This Page

Larry Page
Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Larry Page at and Griffin Sheehy at

All Rights Reserved.

Citing this page:

Page, Larry. 2007. Ictalurus lupus (Girard 1858). Headwater Catfish. Version 23 May 2007 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Ictalurus_lupus/69934/2007.05.23 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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