The Tadpole Madtom hides beneath woody debris or vegetation during the day. Although found in both clear and muddy water, this species usually lives on a mud bottom rather than the shallow riffles or rocky bottoms preferred by most madtoms in Kansas. Spawning takes place once a year from May to June. They feed on larval insects and small crustaceans.
This fish lives in the calm waters of oxbows and sluggish, lowland streams of the Osage River system in eastern Kansas. It has also been found in tributaries of the Missouri River near Atchison.
Although it is not thought to be endangered at present, the Tadpole Madtom is known from so few places that efforts to protect it are encouraged.