Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 21 results
Media
Alligator gar side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Atractosteus spatula (formerly Lepisosteus spatula)
Description
The alligator gar is Missouri's largest gar and has a distinctively short, broad snout. Populations are declining. This fish once occurred in the Mississippi River at least as far upstream as the mouth of the Illinois River and in major tributaries.
Media
Black bullhead side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ameiurus melas
Description
The black bullhead is widespread in Missouri. It is the most common bullhead catfish in north and west portions of the state. It has dusky or black chin barbels, and the edge of its tail fin is notched, not straight.
Media
Black crappie, male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pomoxis nigromaculatus
Description
The black crappie is a popular panfish. It is deep bodied and slab sided. The sides are silver with an irregular pattern of dark speckles. The upper jaw is long, reaching past the middle of the eye.
Media
Bleeding shiner male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Luxilus zonatus
Description
The bleeding shiner is restricted to the Ozarks. Males sport brilliant red during breeding season. Check your ID by noting the dark, crescent bar behind the gill cover and the dark stripe that abruptly narrows just behind the gill opening.
Media
 Central mudminnow side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Umbra limi
Description
The central mudminnow is is the only mudminnow that occurs in our state, and it is rare, occurring only in a few marshy locations near the Mississippi River. Mudminnows are closely related to the pikes.
Media
Channel catfish side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ictalurus punctatus
Description
The channel catfish is the official Missouri state fish. It is pale with dark spots and is found statewide in a variety of habitats, preferring large, rather turbid streams with low or moderate gradients.
Media
Orangethroat darter male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma, Percina, Ammocrypta, and Crystallaria spp.
Description
Darters have been described as the hummingbirds of the fish world: colorful, small, and quick. Missouri has about 44 different types of darters. They are most diverse in the fast, clear, rocky streams of the Ozarks.
Media
Fathead minnow side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pimephales promelas
Description
The fathead minnow has a blunt, rounded snout, rounded fins, a dusky stripe along the side, and a spot at the base of the tail fin. It is most abundant in pools of small prairie creeks because it tolerates rather high temperatures, extreme turbidity, and low oxygen.
Media
Goldfish side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carassius auratus
Description
Goldfish are not native to North America. They often escape into the wild from bait buckets and other causes, but there are few self-sustaining populations in Missouri.
Media
Knobfin sculpin side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cottus immaculatus
Description
The knobfin sculpin occurs only in the Current, Eleven Point, and White river drainages in the Ozarks of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Until 2010, it was considered the same as the Ozark sculpin.
See Also
Media
Photo of a three-toed amphiuma in an aquarium.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Amphiuma tridactylum
Description
The three-toed amphiuma is an eel-like, completely aquatic salamander. It has very small fore- and hind limbs, each with three very small toes. In Missouri it’s found only in the Bootheel region.
Media
Photo of researcher holding a gilled siren
Species Types
Scientific Name
Siren intermedia nettingi
Description
The western lesser siren is an eel-like, aquatic salamander with external gills, small eyes, small forelimbs with four toes, and no hind limbs. In Missouri, it’s found mostly in the Bootheel and northward near the Mississippi River.

About Fishes in Missouri

Missouri has more than 200 kinds of fish, more than are found in most neighboring states. Fishes live in water, breathe with gills, and have fins instead of legs. Most are covered with scales. Most fish in Missouri “look” like fish and could never be confused with anything else. True, lampreys and eels have snakelike bodies — but they also have fins and smooth, slimy skin, which snakes do not.