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Invasive Species: Wels Catfish

Wels Catfish

(Silurus glanis)
*Not detected in Michigan*


Report this species:

Use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) online reporting tool.

- Or - download the MISIN smartphone app and report from your phone -



  • Can grow up to 10 ft. long and live up to 80 years.
  • Very large mouth with 3 pairs of barbels – 1 pair on upper jaw, 2 on lower jaw.
  • Brown back and sides with a nearly white belly.

wels catfish
Photo courtesy of Lucas Van Der Geest.

Habitat: Generally inhabit lowland rivers, backwaters, and well-vegetated lakes, but will occasionally enter brackish water in the Black and Baltic seas.

Diet: Nocturnal predators, forage for fish and other vertebrates as adults. Juveniles are benthic feeders, preying on a variety of fish and invertebrates.

Native Range: Central and Eastern Europe.

Local Concern: Voracious predatory habits make the wels catfish a serious threat to populations of native vertebrates. Water quality may also be reduced through drastic trophic alterations.

Potential Means of Introduction: Aquaculture release, illegal stocking.


Wels Catfish Invasive Species Alert (printable PDF)