Missouri catfishes have smooth, scaleless skin and barbels (“whiskers”) around the mouth. This species has a broad, flattened head with small eyes on top, and the lower jaw projects beyond the upper jaw. The tail fin is mostly squared off, with a slight notch, and the anal fin is rounded, with 24-29 rays. The body is often strongly mottled with brown or black. Back and sides are pale yellow to light brown or olive; the belly is pale yellow or cream-white. Tail fin is dark brown or black except for the upper lobe. Young are darker and more boldly marked than adults.