This species’ attractive, well-defined black or brown mottling on its gray or tan body distinguishes it from most members of the bullhead family. (The spotted bullhead, also has a mottled or spotted body, but its dorsal, caudal, and anal fins have dark or black margins.) Other characters include pigmented chin barbells, 21 to 24 anal fin rays, pectoral spines with several well-developed teeth on their posterior margins, and a slightly notched caudal fin. All fins are dark to light gray; the dorsal and caudal fins are occasionally clear near their edge. Barbels surrounding the mouth are dark gray to black, a characteristic shared with the black bullhead, and spotted bullhead. Adult size: 12 to 18 inches.