HabitatBlack bullheads are found throughout the central United States, often in stagnant or slow-moving waters with soft bottoms. They have been known to congregate in confined spaces, such as lake outlets or under dams. They are very tolerant fish, and are able to live in muddy water, with warmer temperatures and in water with lower levels of oxygen, which reduce competition from other fish.
ReproductionBlack bullheads will start to spawn in April and continue through June. The females will scoop out a small hole or depression in the lake floor and will lay anywhere from 2000 to 6000 eggs. The males fertilize the eggs, then care for them. When the eggs hatch a week later, both parents will watch over the fry for a short while.
FoodThey are omnivorous – will eat almost anything, from grains and other plant matter to insects, dead or living fish and crustaceans. They have short, pointed, conical teeth, formed in multiple rows called cardiform teeth. Black bullheads have no scales; instead, they have about 100,000 taste receptors placed all over their bodies. Many of these are located on the barbels near their mouths. The receptors help the fish to identify food in their dark habitats. During the winter, black bullheads will decrease food intake, and may stop eating all together. Instead, they will bury themselves around the shore line of the lake in debris, with only their gills exposed. This
"hibernation" allows them to survive conditions of low oxygen and low temperature.
DefenseAt the base of their pectoral and dorsal fins are spines, which they can use as spurs to cut predators.
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