Photo by R. E. Jenkins
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Ameiurus platycephalus (Girard 1859)
Identification: As the name suggests, the Flat Bullhead has a flat head. The rear edge of the pectoral spine lacks sawlike teeth, and the snout has a fairly straight profile. The body is gold-yellow to dark brown above and dusky cream to white below. The sides are mottled and speckled with dark brown, and the fins are dusky black. There is a large dark blotch at the base of the dorsal fin base. The dorsal, anal, adipose, and caudal fins are edged in black. The anal fin is short, with 21-24 rays. The first gill arch has 11-13 rakers. To 11 1/4 in. (29 cm) total length.
Range: The Flat Bullhead is found in streams on the Atlantic Piedmont and Coastal Plain from the Roanoke River in Virginia to the Altamaha River drainage in Georgia. The species is generally uncommon.
Habitat: The Flat Bullhead lives in pools of small to large rivers with beds of mud, sand, or rock, and in lakes, ponds and impoundments.
Similar species: The Snail Bullhead, A. brunneus, has little or no mottling on the side, a rounded snout, a shorter anal fin with 17-20 rays, and 14-17 gill rakers. The Spotted Bullhead, A. serracanthus, has light round spots on a dark body, a black-edged pectoral fin, and large sawlike teeth on the back of the pectoral spine.