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Fishes of Idaho

How are your identification skills? Do you know which are native and which were introduced? To see photos and descriptions, and learn more about Idaho fish, check out our Fishes of Idaho online database.

There are around 20,000 species of fish in the world. About 58% of these are marine (saltwater) fish, 41% are freshwater fish, and 1% are both. We have around 100 species in Idaho, and the list keeps growing as more non-native fish are released into Idaho waters. There are only 39 species of fish native to Idaho. The rest were introduced--some by accident, but most on purpose.

Catfishes (Ictalurids)

Black bullhead (Ameiurus melas)

Non-native

Black bullheads can be distinguished from brown bullheads by the absence of barbs on the trailing edge of the pectoral spine, as well as a generally more plump, pot-bellied appearance. Black bullheads are typically 5-7 inches and are generally smaller than brown bullheads. Because they rarely exceed 12 inches, they are not as popular with anglers as brown bullheads, though most anglers do not differentiate the species. Like brown bullheads, black bullheads are largely nocturnal feeders that rely heavily on their sense of smell. They are fairly omnivorous, feeding on insects, crustaceans, worms, amphipods, and plant material.

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