Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 20 results
Media
Bigmouth buffalo side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ictiobus cyprinellus
Description
Missouri's largest sucker, the bigmouth buffalo occurs over much of the state and is most abundant in the Missouri River and its larger tributaries to the north.
Media
Northern snakehead side view illustration with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Channa argus and other Channa and Parachanna spp.
Description
Snakeheads are native to Asia and invasive in America. They resemble bowfins and can live in similar habitats. Note the extended anal fin and the pelvic fins located close to the pectoral fins and gills.
Media
Spotted gar side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lepisosteus oculatus
Description
The spotted gar has many well-defined roundish black spots on top of the head and on the paired fins. Like other gars, it's a long, cylindrical fish with a long snout and numerous prominent teeth. The body is covered with hard, diamond-shaped scales.
Media
Striped bass side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Morone saxatilis
Description
Primarily a marine species native to the Atlantic Coast of North America, the striped bass has been successfully stocked into several reservoirs in the United States. A silvery, elongated fish with prominent dark, horizontal stripes along the sides.
Media
Longnose gar side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lepisosteus osseus
Description
The longnose gar has a longer, narrower snout than our other three gars and is the most widely distributed gar in Missouri.
Media
Paddlefish side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Polyodon spathula
Description
Like a small shark, the paddlefish nearly lacks scales and has a cartilaginous skeleton; like a baleen whale, it filters its dinner from the water. But no other fish alive today has a paddle for a snout.
Media
Brown bullhead side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ameiurus nebulosus
Description
In Missouri, the brown bullhead occurs in quiet, clear waters in wildlife refuges in southeast Missouri. Elsewhere in the state, it is stocked and possibly escapes. It has mottled sides and an elongated barbel at the corner of the mouth.
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
White catfish side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ameiurus catus
Description
The white catfish is often stocked in fee-fishing lakes and other private waters. It sometimes escapes into natural stream systems. Unlike our other bullheads, it has a moderately (though not deeply) forked tail fin.
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.
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 in counties 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.