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mountain madtom

mountain madtom (Noturus eleutherus) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors

The mountain madtom has a dark bar at the base of its caudal fin. Its long, pectoral spines have six to 10 teeth on the rear edge and additional teeth on the front edge. There is a dark bar at the base of the adipose fin that does not reach to the fin’s margin. There is never a question-mark shape at the base of the caudal fin. The rear edge of the caudal fin is straight. The back is brown or gray, usually with dark splotches. Four saddle-shaped, dark marks are usually present across the back. The belly is light with no dark marks. The fins have dark bands or dark colors. There is a dark band near the clear edge of the caudal fin. Adults are about two and one-fourth to five inches in length.

This species lives in clear water with rocky and sandy bottoms and aquatic plants. It feeds at night, eating immature aquatic insects. Its life span is about four to five years.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native