Stonecat (Noturus flavus)
The stonecat is one of the smallest members of the catfish family, averaging 6 to 8 inches, with a maximum length of 12 inches. Stonecats are similar in appearance to madtoms, but differ from madtoms by having a protruding upper jaw and a slight notch in their tail.
The stonecat (Noturus flavus) is common in the Allegheny system and tributaries of Lake Erie; it occurs along the coastal plain of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River system; and it is scattered through the Mohawk system.
Stonecats are usually found under or among rocks in the swift water of streams, especially in riffle areas. They also are found in weedy water near shore or in the mud at the mouth of streams.
These fish have poison glands at the bases of their pectoral and dorsal fin spines. If the spines should prick your skin, the poison runs down the spine and into the wound, resulting in a painful sensation similar to a wasp sting.
Distribution of stonecats in NY state. Dark dots represent where actual samples of stonecats were taken. White dots represent historic distributions.
A 193 KB image of the stonecat is also available for download.