SCIENTIFIC NAME: Noturus gyrinus
CHARACTERISTICS: The body of this small but stocky madtom is angled downward near the dorsal fin base giving it a bent appearance. The top of the head is somewhat depressed, and the upper and lower jaws are equal in length. Pectoral spines are grooved but lack teeth. The slightly rounded anal fin contains 14 to 17 rays, leaving little space between it and the caudal fin base. Elongate middle caudal rays give the caudal fin a rounded appearance. The back and sides are light to dark brown, grading to white on the venter. Fins are light to medium tan, sometimes with irregularly spaced black lines or spots. A conspicious dark line extends along the side of the body from just behind the head to the caudal fin base.
ADULT SIZE: 3 to 4 in (75 to 102 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Tadpole madtoms are widespread and often abundant in the mobile basin below the Fall Line. Unlike the black madtom, this species seems unaffected by the unique habitat and water-quality conditions of Black Belt streams. The only tadpole madtom record from the Tennessee River was collected from Bear Creek by Wall (1968). The small number of records from coastal drainages in Alabama could be due to inadequate sampling in this species" preferred habitats.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: We collected tadpole madtoms in small to large streams with slow currents and sandy silty substrates. Individuals usually linger around aquatic vegetation, in leaf packs, and along undercut banks. Pflieger (1975) reports June and July spawning in Missouri. Etnier and Starnes (1993) note June as the peak spawning month in Tennessee. Food items in Arkansas include small crustaceans, small aquatic insect larvae, oligochaetes, snails, and selected plant material (Robison and Buchanan, 1988). Individuals live for three or four years.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The tadpole madtom was described by Mitchill in 1817.
Noturus means back tail referring to fusion of the adipose and caudal fins.
Gyrinus means from the Greek for tadpole, which this species resembles in body shape.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.