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tadpole madtom

tadpole madtom (Noturus gyrinus) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors


The tadpole madtom may grow to a length of two to three and one-half inches. Its upper and lower jaws are of equal length. No sawlike teeth are present on the rear edge of the spine in the pectoral fins. The light-brown body has a white or light-yellow belly. A dark line can be seen along the middle of each side. The rear edge of the caudal fin is rounded. All fins are gray or brown. The life span of this fish is about three years.


The tadpole madtom may be found statewide in Illinois. This fish lives in areas of little current with many aquatic plants or submerged debris. It can be found in creeks, rivers and lakes. The tadpole madtom spawns in late spring or early summer. The eggs are placed under an object on the bottom and are guarded by one or both of the parents. This fish feeds at night on immature insects and other small invertebrates and small fishes.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native