Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 68 results
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
Yellow bullhead side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ameiurus natalis
Description
The yellow bullhead is widespread in Missouri. It is the most common bullhead catfish in the Ozarks and Bootheel lowlands. It has white chin barbels, and the edge of its tail fin is straight, not notched.
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.
Media
Mountain madtom side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Noturus eleutherus
Description
The mountain madtom is rare and endangered in Missouri. This small catfish has been recorded from only a few locations in the southeastern portion of the state.
Media
Neosho madtom side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Noturus placidus
Description
The Neosho madtom is an endangered species in Missouri. It is our smallest catfish. It lives under rocks in riffles or runs in the clear waters of Spring River in Jasper County.
Media
Slender madtom side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Noturus exilis
Description
The slender madtom is the most common madtom in the western and northern Missouri Ozarks, in small and medium-sized streams that have gravel bottoms, clear water, and permanent flow. It is scarce in the southern Ozarks.
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
Redfin pickerel side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Esox americanus vermiculatus
Description
The grass pickerel is the most common and widely distributed pike in Missouri. It is also the smallest, seldom exceeding 10 or 12 inches in length.
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.