Brown bullhead catfish

Ameiurus nebulosus


Photo credit: ©Phil Degginger
Ameiurus nebulosus - Brown Bullhead Catfish
  • Slow flowing freshwater streams and rivers as well as low energy lakes with maximum depth of 40m

  • Ameiurus nebulosus, the brown bullhead is a species of catfish native to North America and introduced to a number of other countries around the world as a game fish.
  • The anal fins do not reach the tail fin's rays; when closed, the barbs point to the tail.
  • It is very hardy and can tolerate a wider range of environmental conditions, including water pollution; this allows the catfish to habitats outside its native range.

Download N.I.E.A. ID guide

Origin and Distribution:
  • Native to North America but is now present in parts of Europe, Russia, China and New Zealand

  • The impacts associated with this species are currently unclear but similar to all non-native species there is concern for this species to spread parasites and fish disease. There are also some reports of potential impacts on trout and eel fisheries and reports of impacts on crayfish which is of particular concern to the endangered White Clawed Crayfish.
  • In areas where it is invasive, it has been known to alter habitats and trophic levels in water bodies and damage ecosystem services, reducing native biodiversity.

How could it get here?
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately for angling purposes. Considered a valued game fish in some areas.

Is it found in Northern Ireland?
  • It is not found in Northern Ireland.
  • More distribution information can be found on NBN Atlas NI

Stop The Spread:

  • Do not introduce to new areas
  • Do not move live fish between sites. 
  • Report all sightings.

You can help by reporting any sightings: @ the Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) - Or via the iRecord App.
For further queries, you can contact the Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email:  

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland