• Madtom, Brown

Latin name

Noturus phaeus

Other names

No information


Brown madtom has a dull coloration. The upper part of the body has a chocolate brown or yellowish-brown hue. The ventral side is pale. Young brown madtom, especially collected in complex fragments of leaves or vegetation, can be black. These fish adjust the intensity of their body color to mimic the hues of their environment. The upper lip of the brown madtom protrudes beyond the lower lip, and there are six sawtooth teeth on the back of the thoracic spine.


The brown madtom has a fairly wide distribution that includes: tributaries of the Mississippi River in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama; tributaries of the Tennessee River in Tennessee and Alabama; the Gulf Coast slope of the Sabin River drainage in Louisiana; and the Bayou Teche River drainage in Louisiana. It has also been reported in the Ouachita River drainage in Arkansas, probably introduced with other baitfish. They are usually abundant in areas where brown madtoms congregate.


This species usually lives in springs and small streams with patches of vegetation, trash accumulations, and undercut banks. Brown madtoms can be found in waters with moderate to fast currents on fine gravel or coarse sand.


Male and female brown madtoms grow equally fast, but males reach a greater total length because they live longer. The largest individual collected to date was a male with a total length of 6 inches. Females live at least 3 years and males 4 or 5 years. The total length of three-year-old fish ranges from 3.9 to 5.1 inches.

Life history and Behavior

Spawning occurs from May through July, according to studies in northern Mississippi.

Food and feeding habits

Brown madtoms feed in the middle of their sleep, with activity peaking at sunset and just before sunrise. The diet, like that of other madtoms, consists mainly of mosquito larvae, caddisfly larvae, and crustaceans.


No information

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Siluriformes
Family Ictaluridae
Genus Noturus
Species N. phaeus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Bottom
Life span, years 5
Maximum body weight, kg No information
Maximum length, cm 15
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people No information
Way of eating Predator

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Madtom, Brown

Tags: Madtom, Brown