Photo by Richard T. Bryant & Wayne C. Starnes
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Ameiurus brunneus Jordan 1877
Identification: The Snail Bullhead has a flat head and a decidedly rounded snout. The body is yellow-brown or olive above and blue-white to white below. There is a large dark blotch at the base of the dorsal fin. The fins are dusky olive-brown, and all except the pectoral fin have a narrow black edge. Some populations (e.g., in the St. Johns River in Florida) are strongly mottled. The rear edge of the pectoral spine lacks sawlike teeth. The anal fin is short and rounded with 17-20 rays. The first gill arch has 14-17 rakers. To 11 1/2 in. (29 cm) total length.
Range: The Snail Bullhead is found in Atlantic Slope drainages from the Dan River in southern Virginia to the Altamaha River in Georgia, and on the Gulf Slope in the Apalachicola River drainage in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, and the upper Coosa River system in northern Georgia. An isolated population lives in the St. Johns River in Florida. The Snail Bullhead is common in much of its range.
Habitat: Snail Bullheads are found in rocky riffles, runs, and flowing pools of swift streams.
Similar species: Other Bullheads with a large dark blotch at the base of the dorsal fin are the Spotted Bullhead, A. serracanthus, which has light spots on a dark body, a black edged pectoral fin, and sawlike teeth on the rear edge of pectoral spine, and the Flat Bullhead, A. platycephalus, which has a fairly straight snout profile, a longer anal fin with 21-24 rays, 11-13 gill rakers, and mottling on the sides.