Re: NANFA-- Flathead Cats, Pylodictus olivaris

Christopher Scharpf (
Thu, 03 Feb 2000 10:22:05 -0400

Thanks, Mark! In retrospect, I'm glad that the flathead juvenile I brought back
from the NANFA convention died in the cooler on the drive home. (It was my only
casualty.) I remember my logic for keeping it: "But it's so CUTE!" Like
yourself, I had planned to euthanize it when it got too big, or perhaps donate
it to the Tennessee Aquarium, where they have flathead catfishes that are as big
as my desk! Of course, they lose their cuteness then, and don't move much.
Except at night.

Some native fish enthusiasts collect fishes as if they were baseball cards, with
little mind to their ecology, conservation, or optimum aquarium care. We must
combat this attitude and try to better educate people every chance we get.

Chris Scharpf

From: Mark B <>
Subject: NANFA-- Flathead Cats, Pylodictus olivaris
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 10:05:50 -0500

For anyone thinking of keeping Pylodictus olivaris -

This fish can reach more than three feet in length and 100 pounds. It is
native to many states east of the Mississippi. It has been released
officially and unoffically in many places, and has wreaked severe damage on
native species in many of those places. Obviously, if you keep this fish,
you will need a large tank or you will need to euthanize the fish at some
point. Word is that they are good eating.

>From my personal observations, the species is extremely aggressive and
predatory. I collected about eight juveniles last year in the 2 to 3 inch
range. After a short time in one tank, they had systematically attacked
and chewed the tails off the weaker individuals of their own species. This
eventually lead to the death of all but one fish. This one is now housed
alone and is about 4 inches long. Don't think it will make a good take
mate for anything. They will feed at night and likely attack anything they
can get a hold of. I plan to euthanize mine at some point. I don't want
to risk its being released by anyone.

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