The usual length of this moderate-sized bullhead is 20 to 36 cm. Its distribution is restricted to the fresh waters of eastern and central North America. It was released in Germany in the early 1900s, and from there to England, many European countries, and the former USSR. The maximum age of the fish is six to eight years.
Nests are usually shallow depressions in a muddy or sandy bottom in which the eggs are deposited. Feeding is done mainly at night on or near the bottom, and food including waste and offal is searched out largely by means of the barbels. Particularly resistant to domestic and industrial waste, it is sometimes the only species found in heavily polluted waters. The flesh is firm, reddish to pink in colour, and quite delicious.