SCIENTIFIC NAME: Noturus funebris

CHARACTERISTICS: On this heavy-bodied madtom, the slightly rounded anal fin contains 21 to 27 rays, and because of the anal fin"s length, the space between the anal fin and caudal fin base is short. The posterior edge of the pectoral fins is rough but lacks teeth. Body and fin color is dark brown to black; the venter is occasionally mottled. See Gilbert (1891) for original description.

ADULT SIZE: 4 to 7 in (102 to 178 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: Rohde (1978b) maps many collection locations in the Mobile basin and coastal drainages but includes no records from the Tennessee River system. Boschung (1992) reports that two collections from Mill Branch, a tributary of Bear Creek in Colbert County, represent the first collection of this species in the Tennessee River drainage. Actually, Wall (1968) collected the first specimen recorded in the drainage; it was taken in 1966 from Little Cripple Deer Creek, a tributary of Bear Creek in Tishomingo County, Mississippi. Fisheries biologists at Auburn University collected more individuals in Little Bear and Bear creeks in 1973, and we collected the species in Rhinehart and Brush creeks in 1991. The occurrence of black madtoms and several other Mobile basin species in Bear Creek is probably due to faunal exchange between the Mobile basin and Tennessee River drainage. Only scattered collections have been recorded from coastal drainages east of the Mobile basin.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Most of our black madtom collections came from small to medium-sized streams. Individuals usually occur around aquatic vegetation, near accumulation of leaf litter, and especially along the undercut banks where current is slow and substrates consist of sand and silt. Spawning probably occurs in the spring. Little else is known of the species' life history in Alabama.

REMARKS: The type locality is a spring tributary to North River, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The black madtom was described by Gilbert and Swain in 1891.

Noturus means back tail, referring to fusion of the adipose and caudal fins.
Funebris means pertaining to burial or funeral, in reference to dark colors.


The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.