Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris (Rafinesque, 1818)Non-native  -  Invasive    
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Chordata   >   Class Actinopterygii   >   Order Siluriformes   >   Family Ictaluridae   >   Genus Pylodictis   

Status:

Flathead Catfish is an invasive species that is now found in the Upper Chesapeake Bay, Susquehanna River and tributaries, the Potomac River, as well as the Elk and Sassafras Rivers. It is native to the Ohio and Mississippi River watersheds, and has expanded dramatically in Maryland since introduction here in the 1960s to 1980s. Flathead Catfish are ferocious predators that can reach 100 pounds and live at least 20 years. Imagine how many shad, perch, and other native species a beast like that will eat during a lifetime. With complicating factors such as dams and water quality issues, an overabundance of invasive apex predators isn't ideal.

"DNR asks anglers to remove and kill any blue and flathead catfish they catch. Catch and release of these fish is discouraged, as they are invasive top predators and pose a serious long-term threat to our native species." (Maryland DNR)

There are 11 records in the project database.

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A large Flathead Catfish caught on the Susquehanna River in Harford Co., Maryland (4/17/2016). Photo by Bob Cammarata. (MBP list)

Flathead Catfish in Montgomery Co., Maryland (6/20/2021). (c) baltimorefishing1, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by baltimorefishing1 via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Flathead Catfish in Montgomery Co., Maryland (8/12/2022). (c) Charlie Mellor, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Charlie Mellor via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Flathead Catfish in Montgomery Co., Maryland (8/12/2022). (c) Charlie Mellor, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Charlie Mellor via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Flathead Catfish in Cecil Co., Maryland (5/18/2022). (c) volt77, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by volt77 via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

A Flathead Catfish found dead along Octoraro Creek in Cecil Co., Maryland (4/16/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A juvenile Flathead Catfish in Frederick Co., Maryland (8/20/2020). Photo by Emilio Concari. (MBP list)

A juvenile Flathead Catfish in Frederick Co., Maryland (8/20/2020). Photo by Emilio Concari. (MBP list)

Flathead Catfish in Montgomery Co., Maryland (6/20/2021). (c) baltimorefishing1, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by baltimorefishing1 via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Flathead Catfish in Montgomery Co., Maryland (8/12/2022). (c) Charlie Mellor, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Charlie Mellor via iNaturalist. (MBP list)


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MBP marks as "Invasive" any taxon listed in the Maryland Invasive Species Council (MISC) list of Invasive Species of Concern in Maryland. You can read their criteria and review the lists here: https://mdinvasives.org/species-of-concern/.

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