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brindled madtom

brindled madtom (Noturus miurus) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors


The brindled madtom may grow to two to three and one-half inches in length. Its body is deepest in front of the dorsal fin. The dorsal fin has a dark blotch on its outer edge. The rear edge of the tail fin is rounded, and the adipose and tail fins are joined. Five to nine sawlike teeth are present on the rear edge of the spine in the pectoral fins. The back is light yellow to brown, with dark mottling. Four poorly defined saddles can be seen on the back. The belly is yellow or white. The tail fin has a dark border while the other fins have dark mottling. The upper jaw sticks out beyond the lower jaw. The base of the tail fin frequently has the outline of a dark question mark. The life span is about three years.



The brindled madtom may be found in the Wabash and Ohio river watersheds in Illinois. This fish lives in creeks and rivers in areas with a gravel or sand bottom and submerged leaves and sticks. The brindled madtom spawns in late spring and summer. Its eggs are deposited in a nest under or in objects on the bottom. The nest is guarded by the male. This fish feeds at night on or near the bottom, eating immature insects.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia​
Phylum: Chordata​
Class: Actinopterygii​
Order: Siluriformes​
Family: Ictaluridae

Illinois Status: common, native