Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 50 results
Media
Alligator gar side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Atractosteus spatula (formerly Lepisosteus spatula)
Description
The alligator gar is Missouri's largest gar and has a distinctively short, broad snout. Populations are declining. This fish once occurred in the Mississippi River at least as far upstream as the mouth of the Illinois River and in major tributaries.
Media
Banded sculpin side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cottus carolinae
Description
The banded sculpin is widely distributed, occurring in all the major Ozark stream systems and north of the Missouri River in Lincoln County. Note the complete lateral line; wide, distinct dark bar at the base of the tail; and dorsal fins that are not connected.
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
Black buffalo side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ictiobus niger
Description
Compared to Missouri’s other buffalofishes, the black buffalo is less abundant and widespread, and of the three, it occurs most often in places with strong currents.
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
Black carp side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mylopharyngodon piceus
Description
The black carp is a large, invasive carp from Asia. It eats mussels and snails and can damage populations of native mollusks. It is illegal to transport live black carp across state lines.
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
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
Brown trout female side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Salmo trutta
Description
Native to Europe, hatchery-raised brown trout are stocked into cold streams and lakes in Missouri. A favorite of anglers, this species can reach 37 inches and 26 pounds.
Media
Central stoneroller male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Campostoma anomalum (syn. C. pullum)
Description
The central stoneroller is a brownish minnow with small eyes. The lower jaw has a flat, shelflike extension used to scrape algae from rocks. Found statewide, it is most active during the daytime.
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.