Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 13 results
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
Golden redhorse side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Moxostoma erythrurum
Description
The golden redhorse is a smaller-bodied sucker with large scales and a short dorsal fin. It occurs in Ozark and northeast Missouri streams.
Media
Goldfish side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carassius auratus
Description
Goldfish are not native to North America. They often escape into the wild from bait buckets and other causes, but there are few self-sustaining populations in Missouri.
Media
Hybrid striped bass, or wiper, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Morone chrysops x M. saxatilis
Description
Hybrids between the striped bass and white bass are stocked by the MDC in select impoundments around the state. Also called "wipers," they attain a larger size than our native white bass.
Media
Knobfin sculpin side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cottus immaculatus
Description
The knobfin sculpin occurs only in the Current, Eleven Point, and White river drainages in the Ozarks of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Until 2010, it was considered the same as the Ozark sculpin.
Media
Lake sturgeon side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Acipenser fulvescens
Description
The lake sturgeon is Missouri’s largest sturgeon and is rare and endangered in our state. Note its conical (not shovel-nosed) snout. Despite its name, in Missouri this fish is almost always found in big rivers, not lakes.
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
Mottled sculpin side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cottus bairdii
Description
In Missouri, the mottled sculpin occurs in the Niangua River system, some tributaries of the Lake of the Ozarks, the Meramec, Gasconade, and Osage river systems, and some other eastern Ozark streams. It is most similar to the Ozark and knobfin sculpins.
Media
River redhorse side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Moxostoma carinatum
Description
The river redhorse occurs throughout the Ozarks but is seldom common. It inhabits pools of clear, medium-sized to large streams with gravelly or rocky bottoms and continuous strong flow.
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.