SCIENTIFIC NAME: Noturus nocturnus
CHARACTERISTICS: The body shapes and colors of the freckled madtom, Noturus nocturnus, and the black madtom, N. funebris, are similar, but the two can be distinguished by their anal fin rays: While the former has 15 to 18 anal fin rays, the latter has 21 to 27. The freckled madtom"s pectoral fins lack posterior teeth and anterior serrae. The head is slightly depressed, and the upper jaw protrudes from the lower jaw. The back and sides are medium to dark gray, changing to pale or creamy white on the venter. The fins are uniformly dark; median fins may be clear or edged in white.
ADULT SIZE: 2 to 5.5 in (50 to 135 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Most locations in the Mobile basin are from below the Fall Line. The species has also been collected at a few locations in the Escatawpa River system and Tennessee River drainage. In our collections, freckled madtoms were never abundant or even common.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: This species usually occurs in moderate or slow current around aquatic vegetation, in leaf packs, and along undercut banks of medium-sized or large streams. In Puppy Creek, an Escatawpa River tributary, we found individuals behind rock or log snags in deep in deep, moderate to swift waters. (This contrasts with our collection of the speckled madtom, N. leptacanthus, which occupied debris snags in waters less than 6 inches deep.) On 25 June 1993, we observed an adult guarding eggs under a flat rock in Bear Creek, a tributary to the Alabama River in Wilcox County. Burr and Mayden (1982c) note that freckled madtoms spawn in June and July in Illinois. Life span is probably four or five years. Diet consists of mayflies, caddisflies, and midges.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The freckled madtom was described by Jordan and Gilbert in 1886.
Noturus means back tail, referring to fusion of the adipose and caudal fins.
Nocturnus means of the night, referring to this species' dark color.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.