hardhead catfish is colored dirty gray with a white underside.
No scales are present on the skin. Four barbels are found
under the chin and two more at the corners of the mouth. It
does not have the elongated extensions on the dorsal and pectoral
fins that the gafftopsail catfish has. The hardhead catfish
has hard, sharp, venomous spines in its dorsal and pectoral
fins and should be handled with care.
Hardhead catfish eat virtually anything, including algae,
pieces of plants, worms, snails, clams, microscopic zooplankton,
marine shrimp, grass shrimp, blue crabs, mud crabs, insects,
spiders, small fish, smaller hardhead catfish, hermit crabs,
fish bones, mud, sand, and even scales actively taken from
living fish. Because they are so common, it is often assumed
that they produce a lot of eggs. Actually, each female produces
only 14 to 64 mature eggs each season. After the male fertilizes
the eggs, he holds them in his mouth until they hatch, and
for a time thereafter. Spawning takes place from May to September
in shallow marine bays and lakes.