Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 15 results
Media
Alabama shad side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alosa alabamae
Description
The Alabama shad is uncommon in Missouri. It spends most of its adult life in the sea and enters freshwater streams to spawn. Missouri may have the last spawning populations that occur in the Mississippi River system.
Media
Blue catfish side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ictalurus furcatus
Description
The blue catfish is a big-river fish, preferring swift chutes, pools with noticeable current, and silt-free substrates. In Missouri, it's most common in the Mississippi, Missouri, and Osage rivers.
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
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
Freshwater drum side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aplodinotus grunniens
Description
The freshwater drum is a silvery, deep-bodied fish with a distinct humpbacked appearance. It occurs in large rivers, lakes, and impoundments over most of Missouri.
Media
Gizzard shad side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dorosoma cepedianum
Description
The gizzard shad is one of the most common and abundant fish in Missouri. In Missouri, this schooling fish occurs in every major stream system and is most abundant in reservoirs and large rivers.
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
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
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.
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.