A blue catfish, invasive species

Blue Catfish - Invasive Species

Grade 3

The Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River are home to a variety of fish and aquatic species. These fish who normally live and have a habitat here are known as native species. However, a new species has arrived at the Potomac River and the Bay, known as the blue catfish. Its population has multiplied and is now causing problems for the Chesapeake Bay environment. In this lesson we will explore why this creature is creating so many issues for these aquatic ecosystems.


Teacher's Guide and Related Standards


I can explain why blue catfish are creating problems for the Chesapeake Bay and describe a solution to prevent them from continuing to grow and multiply.

Essential Questions

  • What are invasive species and why are they harmful to the environment?

  • Why should we be concerned with invasive species in our watershed, the Chesapeake Bay?

Maryland Farm & Harvest Clip

Thinking questions:

  • What makes blue catfish an invasive species to the Chesapeake Bay?
  • What problems is the blue catfish causing for native species in the environment?
  • What types of fish and species of the Chesapeake Bay are prey to blue catfish?
  • What structures does the blue catfish have that allow it to be a top, apex predator?
  • What solution has been made to help stop the growth of the blue catfish population in the Bay?


Supplemental Enrichment Activities

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Invasive Species: Finding Solution to Stop Their Spread

Read the article to learn more about other invasive species in the country, as well as the solutions and actions that are being taken to limit the spread and growth of these species.

Have students evaluate these solutions and create an argument about which are the most and least effective.

» Go to Article

Ecosystem Dynamics

Invasive Species of the Chesapeake Bay

Explore and learn about other invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay:

  • Mute swans
  • Nutria
  • Phragmites
  • Purple loosestrife
  • Water chestnuts
  • Zebra mussels
Compare these species with the blue catfish and explain why and how they are also creating problems for the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

» Go to Website

Systems and System Models

Blue Catfish Map/Model

Review the map/model with students. Areas in yellow show where blue catfish are native and commonly found. Areas in red are where blue catfish are spreading. The blue catfish in these locations are being classified as invasive species.

Have students observe and analyze patterns about this map and make a prediction about the main areas where they think blue catfish will spread next.

» Go to Map/Model

Career Connections


This learning resource is a production of Maryland Public Television/Thinkport, in partnership with the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation.

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