Hardhead catfish

Ariopsis felis

Family Ariidae - catfishes, sea

Body elongate, the head is flattened dorsoventrally, the body is flattened laterally; body is scaleless; color bluish to gray above, white below; sharp, thick serrated spine in dorsal fin and both pectoral fins; 1st ray of dorsal and pectoral fins not elongated; adipose fin present; 3 pair of long round barbels on chin and mouth.
Similar Species
The gafftopsail catfish has 2 pair of flattened barbels (hardheads have 3 pair of round barbels), its 1st dorsal and pectoral fin rays are elongated; the blue catfish, a freshwater catfish that ventures into brackish waters, has 4 pair of barbels.
Gulf and bay, common to most habitats
Maximum Size
70 cm (27 1/2 in), common to 40 cm (15 1/2 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. I,7; A. 16 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
State size/bag limits