Invasive Species: Wels Catfish
*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 - MISIN.MSU.edu/tools/apps/#home.
- 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.
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.