Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 43 results
Media
Alabama shad side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alosa alabamae
Description
The Alabama shad is uncommon in Missouri. It spends most of its adult life in the sea and enters freshwater streams to spawn. Missouri may have the last spawning populations that occur in the Mississippi River system.
Media
Black crappie, male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pomoxis nigromaculatus
Description
The black crappie is a popular panfish. It is deep bodied and slab sided. The sides are silver with an irregular pattern of dark speckles. The upper jaw is long, reaching past the middle of the eye.
Media
Bleeding shiner male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Luxilus zonatus
Description
The bleeding shiner is restricted to the Ozarks. Males sport brilliant red during breeding season. Check your ID by noting the dark, crescent bar behind the gill cover and the dark stripe that abruptly narrows just behind the gill opening.
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
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
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
Creek chub male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Semotilus atromaculatus
Description
The creek chub is a slender, fine-scaled minnow with a black blotch at front of the dorsal fin and a black spot at the base of the tail fin. It is found nearly statewide and is most abundant in small headwater creeks.
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
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
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.
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.