Eight primer combinations were used to investigate the application of amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers in catfish for genetic analysis. Intraspecific polymorphism was low among channel catfish or blue catfish strains. Interspecific AFLP polymorphism was high between the channel catfish and blue catfish. Each primer combination generated from 70 to more than 200 bands, of which 38.6 75.7% were polymorphic between channel catfish and blue catfish. On average, more than 20 polymorphic bands per primer combination were produced as quality markers suitable for genetic analysis. All AFLP markers were transmitted into channel catfish x blue catfish F1 hybrids, except rare markers that were heterozygous in the parents and therefore were segregating in F1 hybrids. The two reciprocal channel catfish x blue catfish F1 hybrids (channel catfish female x blue catfish male; blue catfish female x channel catfish male) produced identical AFLP profiles. The AFLP markers were inherited and segregated in expected Mendelian ratios. At two loci, E8-b9 and E8-b2, markers were found at significantly lower frequencies than expected with F2 and backcross hybrids which had been selected for increased growth rates. The reproducibility of AFLP was excellent. These characteristics of the catfish AFLP markers make them highly useful for genetic analysis of catfish, especially for construction of genetic linkage and quantitative trait loci maps, and for marker-assisted selection.