Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 51 results
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
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
Common shiner side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Luxilus cornutus
Description
The common shiner is mostly found in central and west-central Missouri in short, direct tributaries of the Missouri River. It is very similar to the striped shiner but lacks dusty sprinkles of pigment on its chin and (except for breeding males) lacks dark lines on the upper part of the body.
Media
Flathead chub side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Platygobio gracilis
Description
The flathead chub is a slender, silvery minnow with small eyes, sickle-shaped pectoral fins, and wedge-shaped head with a pointed snout. Native to Missouri's big rivers and their tributaries, it is now state endangered.
Media
Golden shiner male, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Notemigonus crysoleucas
Description
The golden shiner is a deep-bodied minnow with a greenish-olive back and a faint dusky stripe along the midline. It has a fleshy keel along the midline of the belly. It is widespread in Missouri.
Media
Fathead minnow side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pimephales promelas
Description
The fathead minnow has a blunt, rounded snout, rounded fins, a dusky stripe along the side, and a spot at the base of the tail fin. It is most abundant in pools of small prairie creeks because it tolerates rather high temperatures, extreme turbidity, and low oxygen.
Media
Cypress minnow side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hybognathus hayi
Description
The cypress minnow, like its Bootheel swampland habitat, is in danger of vanishing from Missouri. On the forward part of this fish's side, note the distinct cross-hatched pattern made by the dark-edged scales.
Media
Brook silverside side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Labidesthes sicculus
Description
The brook silverside is a little fish that is very active in the daytime and on bright, moonlit nights.
Media
Ozark minnow female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Notropis nubilus
Description
The Ozark minnow is small and slender, with a prominent dusky stripe along the midline that extends forward past the eye. It is one of the most common minnows in the Ozark uplands.
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.