Ameiurus nebulosus syn. Ictalurus nebulosus

Brown bullhead catfish

Family: Ictaluridae

Origin: North America

Brown bullhead catfish with long whiskers.
Catfish are robust fish with distinctive whisker-like feelers. They can survive in a wide range of temperatures and tolerate poor water quality.
Photo credit: Stephen Moore

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Aotea — Exclusion
  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Priority Lakes Tomarata and Rototoa
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Scale-less dark brown to olive-green fish, eight whiskery barbels around the mouth. Can grow up to 25-50 cm long.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:


Lakes, slow-moving water bodies, streams, drainage channels.

Impact on environment

Eats fish and invertebrates. Contributes to poor water quality, exacerbates algal blooms, suspends sediment, uproots plants. Can cause lake to flip to an alternative state devoid of vegetation, with turbid water dominated phytoplankton.



Check equipment and vessels for freshwater pests, clean everything that has been in contact with the water and dry everything thoroughly.

For more information about brown bullhead catfish and how to manage them, please contact Auckland Council at