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Neosho Madtom

Photo by Greg Sievert

Common Name: Neosho Madtom

Scientific Name: Noturus placidus

Federal Status: Threatened

State Status: Threatened


Dark Blue = Designated critical habitat
Light Blue = Historical records

Comments: The Neosho madtom occurs only in the Cottonwood, Neosho and Spring rivers. It is a small member of the catfish family that lives in loose, clean gravel where there is noticeable flow. Gravel dredging from the riverbed of the Neosho River is restricted to conserve this habitat for the Neosho madtom. It hides during the day and is most active in the hours following sundown as it searches for insect larvae of caddisflies, mayflies, and midges. The Neosho madtom will grow to be 3 inches in length and has a 2-3 year lifespan. Annual surveys are conducted at several riffle sites along the Neosho and Spring rivers to monitor the population of this fish. It is believed that early summer high flows are necessary for successful spawning, which do not occur as often since impoundments were built on the Cottonwood and Neosho rivers. Beware of the sharp, pectoral spines on this small catfish and their associated venom that help protect it from larger predators.