Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 15 results
Media
Arkansas darter, female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma cragini
Description
The Arkansas darter is a small, rare perch that lives in shallow, spring branches and spring-fed creeks with sandy bottoms and mats of watercress.
Media
Bluegill male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lepomis macrochirus
Description
The bluegill is one of the most abundant and popular panfishes in North America. This deep-bodied, slab-sided sunfish sports a black “ear flap” extending from the edge of its gill cover.
Media
Common shiner side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Luxilus cornutus
Description
The common shiner is mostly found in central and west-central Missouri in short, direct tributaries of the Missouri River. It is very similar to the striped shiner but lacks dusty sprinkles of pigment on its chin and (except for breeding males) lacks dark lines on the upper part of the body.
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
Green sunfish male, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lepomis cyanellus
Description
The green sunfish is thick-bodied with a large mouth. The upper jaw extends to about the middle of the eye. It may occur in just about any pond, lake, or stream that is capable of supporting fish life.
Media
Longear sunfish, spawning male, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lepomis megalotis
Description
The longear sunfish is deep-bodied, slab-sided, with a moderate-sized mouth, the upper jaw nearly reaching the front of the eye. It is by far the most abundant and generally distributed sunfish over the southern half of Missouri.
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Southern redbelly dace male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Notropis, Cyprinella, Hybognathus, Luxilus, and others
Description
Minnows — including shiners, chubs, stonerollers, dace, and carp — are members of the minnow family, the Cyprinidae. It is the largest of all fish families, and Missouri has about 70 species.
Media
Niangua darter female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma nianguae
Description
Two small black spots at the base of the tail fin distinguish the Niangua darter from all other darters in Missouri. Known from only a few tributaries of the Osage River, this dainty, colorful fish is a nationally threatened species.
Media
Northern pike side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Esox lucius
Description
The largest pike native to Missouri, the northern pike can be more than 4 feet long and weigh more than 40 pounds. Missouri is on the southern edge of the range of this species. Because of its rarity here, it is of little importance as a game fish.
Media
Northern studfish female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fundulus catenatus
Description
The northern studfish is common and widely distributed in every principal Ozark stream system except the Neosho. Males in spawning coloration are some of our prettiest topminnows.
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.