Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 11 results
Media
Crystal darter side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Crystallaria asprella
Description
The crystal darter is Endangered in Missouri. Formerly known from many river drainages in the east-central and southeastern parts of our state, this pale, very slender darter apparently now lives only in the Gasconade and Black rivers.
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
Greenside darter female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma blennioides
Description
The greenside darter is one of our largest darters. It has olive to yellow sides and back with scattered red spots and vertical blotches often arranged in a V or W pattern. It is one of the most abundant and widespread darters in the Ozarks.
Media
Harlequin darter side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma histrio
Description
In Missouri, the harlequin darter occurs only in our southeastern lowlands, in flowing streams and ditches with sandy bottoms. It is State Endangered because its small numbers and limited range make it vulnerable to extirpation.
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
Logperch side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Percina caprodes
Description
The logperch occurs in small- to medium-sized rivers and along gravel shorelines in reservoirs. Our largest darter has a distinctly conical snout that overhangs the mouth, and 15 to 20 vertical dark bars on a light background.
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
Niangua darter female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma nianguae
Description
Two small black spots at the base of the tail fin distinguish the Niangua darter from all other darters in Missouri. Known from only a few tributaries of the Osage River, this dainty, colorful fish is a nationally threatened species.
Media
Redfin darter side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma whipplei
Description
The redfin darter is one of Missouri's rarest darters and is endangered in our state. It is part of a highly distinctive fish community living in the lower Spring River and its North Fork, in Jasper and Barton counties.
Media
Swamp darter side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma fusiforme
Description
Unlike most other darters, the swamp darter prefers swamps and sloughs with no current at all. Rare in our state, it’s found only in a few southeast Missouri locations.
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.