Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 35 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
Bighead carp side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hypophthalmichthys nobilis
Description
The bighead carp is an invasive Asian carp. It does not jump as frequently as its cousin the silver carp, but it also leaps from the water when disturbed, threatening boaters' safety.
Media
Bigmouth buffalo side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ictiobus cyprinellus
Description
Missouri's largest sucker, the bigmouth buffalo occurs over much of the state and is most abundant in the Missouri River and its larger tributaries to the north.
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
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
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
Duskystripe shiner male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Luxilus pilsbryi
Description
In our state, the duskystripe shiner is only found in the White River system of southwest and south-central Missouri. It prefers swift, clear headwater streams. The dark stripe along the side extends from nose to tail with a lighter-colored band above it.
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
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.
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.