Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 28 results
Media
River carpsucker side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carpiodes carpio
Description
The river carpsucker has a silvery, deep, rather thick body, a long, sickle-shaped dorsal fin, and whitish lower fins. It is the most abundant and widely distributed carpsucker in Missouri.
Media
Common carp side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cyprinus carpio
Description
The common carp is a "whopper" member of the minnow family. Originally from Asia, it was actively stocked in America in the 1800s and was firmly established in Missouri by 1895.
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
Bowfin side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Amia calva
Description
The bowfin is a stout-bodied, nearly cylindrical fish. It is most abundant in the Mississippi Lowlands, though it occurs along the entire length of the Mississippi River.
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
Sauger side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sander canadensis
Description
The sauger is closely related to the walleye. In Missouri, it's found mostly in the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and suitable tributaries, plus the Eleven Point River. It prefers flowing water and often swift current.
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
Flathead catfish side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pylodictis olivaris
Description
The flathead catfish has a broad, flattened head with small eyes on top. The lower jaw projects beyond the upper jaw. It occurs in most of the large streams of Missouri, preferring places with a slow current.
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.