The freckled madtom is an endangered species in Iowa. It was added to Iowa’s species list in 1984 when several specimens were collected from a single site in the English River. Since, this species has been found in another part of the lower Iowa River watershed as well as in the Mississippi River and one of its tributaries.
The freckled madtom prefers medium-sized creeks to large rivers of low to moderate gradient with clear to moderate turbidity and silty-gravel or sand-gravel substrates. It is often found in riffles and pools where organic debris such as leaves or twigs tend to accumulate. The freckled madtom avoids streams with shifting sand bottoms. The freckled madtom has been found in trash piles against stream banks or in shallow pools underneath rocks.