Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 20 results
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
Warmouth male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lepomis gulosus
Description
The warmouth is a thick-bodied, large-mouthed sunfish that occurs widely over the southern and eastern parts of Missouri. Note the 4 or 5 reddish-brown streaks radiating from the red eye across the side of the head.
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
Orangethroat darter female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma spectabile
Description
Orangethroat darters are one of the most common darters in the Ozarks. The males are colorful during breeding season, with red blotches on the sides and bright orange under the gills.
Media
Arkansas darter, female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma cragini
Description
The Arkansas darter is a small, rare perch that lives in shallow, spring branches and spring-fed creeks with sandy bottoms and mats of watercress.
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
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
Southern redbelly dace side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chrosomus erythrogaster (formerly Phoxinus erythrogaster)
Description
The southern redbelly dace has two dusky stripes separated by a broad golden stripe along the side. The bellies of males turn brilliant red in spring. It lives in small creeks and spring branches of the Ozarks with permanent flow of cool, clear water and a gravel or sand bottom.
Media
Topeka shiner female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Notropis topeka
Description
Found in only a few Missouri streams, the Topeka shiner is an endangered native minnow that has declined dramatically because of environmental pollution, siltation, and loss or alteration of habitat.
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.