Learn about the crisis that is becoming even more unstoppable.
The most common name for this species is the flathead catfish. Other names also include the yellow catfish, mud catfish, shovelhead catfish, johnnie cat, flatbelly catfish, and Mississippi catfish. The scientific name for the flathead catfish is Pylodictis olivaris.
The flathead catfish looks a lot like a normal catfish. The main difference is that it’s head is flat. They can grow to more than forty-five kilograms. They also get to be about 155 centimeters long when they fully mature.
The flathead catfish is native to the Mississippi River area and the central part of the United States. People have taken the flathead catfish to other parts of the country. It has been brought over to the western region in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado. It has also been taken to places along the east coast like Delaware and all the way south to Georgia and Florida. The flathead catfish continues to spread out further on it’s own.
The flathead catfish was first introduced and stocked in new waters to be a sport fish for fishing in the 1950s through the 1990s. Since the flathead catfish is a very large fish it needs to eat large quantities of food. The populations of other fish that are native to the area have declined. Flathead catfish prey heavily on crayfish, crabs, young American eels, and other smaller fish. Other catfish populations have declined because of the competition for food and space. The flathead catfish has also eliminated some species in a few areas.
The only way to control the population and spreading of the flathead catfish is intense fishing and electrofishing. Also if people catch a flathead catfish they are asked not to release it no matter what the size is. They hope that by eliminating as many flathead catfish as possible it will keep native fish populations from decreasing even more. There are studies going on right now trying to find a more extensive plan to decreasing the flathead catfish population.