The mountain madtom is one of six species of madtoms found in Ohio. This species is the most abundant of the three endangered species found in Ohio.
The mountain madtom is a small catfish with an almost square tail. Their adipose fin is not attached to the tail. There is some pigment on the adipose fin but it is relatively clear with no distinct dark saddle like marking going over the top of the fin. They differ from the very similar Northern madtom in not having a distinct dark colored vertical bar or crescent in the center of their tail. They also are often more uniformly colored with less distinct dark saddles over their back than the Northern or brindled madtoms. Mountain madtoms have some dark pigment in the dorsal fin as well but it does not extend to the top edge of the fin like it does on brindled madtoms. Their body color can be various shades of brown or tan. They often have some speckling of darker browns on their sides and have a white or cream colored belly. The rear edge of their pectoral spines are deeply serrated.
Habitat and Habits
The mountain madtom is found in deep swift riffles of large rivers. They usually are found in and around cobbles and boulders. In Ohio this species had been reduced to a few remnant populations but because of improvements in water quality they appear to be making a comeback. Relatively large populations now occur in parts of the Little Miami, Muskingum, Walhonding, and Tuscarawas Rivers.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
The mountain madtom spawns in early summer under large rocks in the riffles where they live. The male guards the eggs until they hatch.