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Class Osteichthyes
Order Siluriformes
Family Ictaluridae


Ictaluridae—CatfishPleistocene distribution of Ambystoma mavortium

Catfish of various species occur natively in New Mexico, mostly in the eastern drainages and into the Rio Grande. The Blancan beds in the vicinity of La Union produced a single specimen (a fragment of pectoral spine, UTEP 33-60, Fig. 1) that Vanderhill (1986) thought closely resembles that of the channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). Vanderhill took its presence as a sign that permanent water, probably in the form of large streams, was present.

Two records within our time span are identified only to the family level (as "catfish"). One is from Early Irvingtonian deposits near Albuquerque; the other from Rancholabrean deposits in the northeastern corner of New Mexico.

Fossil catfish pectoral spine

Fig. 1. Fossil fragment of a catfish pectoral spine from the vicinity of La Union, Doña Ana Co., NM.


Early Irvingtonian: Tijeras Arroyo (Morgan and Lucas 2005).

Rancholabrean: Tramperos Creek (Morgan and Lucas 2005).

Literature: Morgan and Lucas 2005; Vanderhill 1986.


Last Update: 3 Nov 2008