Yellow bullhead (Ictaluridae: Ameiurus natalis) is the most abundant ictalurid catfish in the Everglades of southern Florida, USA, and, as both prey and predator, is one of many essential components in the ecological-simulation models used in assessing restoration success in the Everglades. Little is known of its biology and life history in this southernmost portion of its native range; the present study provides the first estimates of age and growth from the Everglades. In total, 144 yellow bullheads of 97-312 mm total length (TL) were collected from canals and marshes of the Everglades between April 2000 and January 2001, and from October 2003 to February 2005. Fish were aged using cross-sections of pectoral spines and ranged from 1-12 years, with the maximum age almost twice that of any yellow bullhead previously reported. Yellow bullheads from south Florida grew relatively rapidly during their first 3 years, but after age 5 growth slowed and fish approached an asymptote of ???214 mm TL. Compared to other populations in the United States, yellow bullhead in the Everglades grew relatively slowly, were smaller at age overall, but survived to older ages. ?? 2009 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.
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Variable growth and longevity of yellow bullhead (Ameiurus natalis) in the Everglades of south Florida, USA